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John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1690)

A brief overview of the reading: In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke (1632-1704) argues that legitimate government is a limited government based on consent, in which the majority rules but may not violate people’s fundamental rights. At first glance, Locke’s theory may seem familiar, but it also conceals some puzzling questions. On Locke’s view, a legitimate government may not violate our natural right to life, liberty, and property. But Locke allows that government may legitimately take our property through taxation and require citizens to sacrifice their lives in war. If government may do these things, then what counts as a law that violates our rights?


John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

CHAP. I.
Sec. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,

1. That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by positive
donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominion over
the world, as is pretended:

2. That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:

3. That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positive law of
God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may arise, the
right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could not have been
certainly determined:

4. That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which is the
eldest line of Adam’s posterity, being so long since utterly lost, that in
the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not to one
above another, the least pretence to be the eldest house, and to have the
right of inheritance:

All these premises having, as I think, been clearly made out, it is
impossible that the rulers now on earth should make any benefit, or derive
any the least shadow of authority from that, which is held to be the
fountain of all power, Adam’s private dominion and paternal jurisdiction; so
that he that will not give just occasion to think that all government in the
world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together
by no other rules but that of beasts, where the strongest carries it, and so
lay a foundation for perpetual disorder and mischief, tumult, sedition and
rebellion, (things that the followers of that hypothesis so loudly cry out
against) must of necessity find out another rise of government, another
original of political power, and another way of designing and knowing the
persons that have it, than what Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us.

Sec. 2. To this purpose, I think it may not be amiss, to set down what I
take to be political power; that the power of a MAGISTRATE over a subject
may be distinguished from that of a FATHER over his children, a MASTER over
his servant, a HUSBAND over his wife, and a LORD over his slave. All which
distinct powers happening sometimes together in the same man, if he be
considered under these different relations, it may help us to distinguish
these powers one from wealth, a father of a family, and a captain of a
galley.

Sec. 3. POLITICAL POWER, then, I take to be a RIGHT of making laws with
penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating
and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in
the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from
foreign injury; and all this only for the public good.

CHAP. II. Of the State of Nature.

Sec. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its
original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that
is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their
possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of
nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is
reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more
evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously
born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same
faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or
subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest
declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an
evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and
sovereignty.

Sec. 5. This equality of men by nature, the judicious Hooker looks upon as
so evident in itself, and beyond all question, that he makes it the
foundation of that obligation to mutual love amongst men, on which he builds
the duties they owe one another, and from whence he derives the great maxims
of justice and charity. His words are,

“The like natural inducement hath brought men to know that it is no less
their duty, to love others than themselves; for seeing those things which
are equal, must needs all have one measure; if I cannot but wish to receive
good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own
soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied,
unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire, which is undoubtedly in
other men, being of one and the same nature? To have any thing offered them
repugnant to this desire, must needs in all respects grieve them as much as
me; so that if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no reason that
others should shew greater measure of love to me, than they have by me
shewed unto them: my desire therefore to be loved of my equals in nature as
much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to them-
ward fully the like affection; from which relation of equality between
ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons
natural reason hath drawn, for direction of life, no man is ignorant, Eccl.
Pol. Lib. 1.”

Sec. 6. But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of
licence: though man in that state have an uncontroulable liberty to dispose
of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or
so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than
its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature
to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law,
teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and
independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or
possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and
infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into
the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose
workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another’s pleasure:
and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of
nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may
authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s
uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s. Every one, as he is
bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the
like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he,
as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it
be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what
tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods
of another.

Sec. 7. And that all men may be restrained from invading others rights, and
from doing hurt to one another, and the law of nature be observed, which
willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution of the law
of nature is, in that state, put into every man’s hands, whereby every one
has a right to punish the transgressors of that law to such a degree, as may
hinder its violation: for the law of nature would, as all other laws that
concern men in this world ‘be in vain, if there were no body that in the
state of nature had a power to execute that law, and thereby preserve the
innocent and restrain offenders. And if any one in the state of nature may
punish another for any evil he has done, every one may do so: for in that
state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or
jurisdiction of one over another, what any may do in prosecution of that
law, every one must needs have a right to do.

Sec. 8. And thus, in the state of nature, one man comes by a power over
another; but yet no absolute or arbitrary power, to use a criminal, when he
has got him in his hands, according to the passionate heats, or boundless
extravagancy of his own will; but only to retribute to him, so far as calm
reason and conscience dictate, what is proportionate to his transgression,
which is so much as may serve for reparation and restraint: for these two
are the only reasons, why one man may lawfully do harm to another, which is
that we call punishment. In transgressing the law of nature, the offender
declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common
equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of men, for their
mutual security; and so he becomes dangerous to mankind, the tye, which is
to secure them from injury and violence, being slighted and broken by him.
Which being a trespass against the whole species, and the peace and safety
of it, provided for by the law of nature, every man upon this score, by the
right he hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is
necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any
one, who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent the doing of it,
and thereby deter him, and by his example others, from doing the like
mischief. And in the case, and upon this ground, EVERY MAN HATH A RIGHT TO
PUNISH THE OFFENDER, AND BE EXECUTIONER OF THE LAW OF NATURE.

Sec. 9. I doubt not but this will seem a very strange doctrine to some men:
but before they condemn it, I desire them to resolve me, by what right any
prince or state can put to death, or punish an alien, for any crime he
commits in their country. It is certain their laws, by virtue of any
sanction they receive from the promulgated will of the legislative, reach
not a stranger: they speak not to him, nor, if they did, is he bound to
hearken to them. The legislative authority, by which they are in force over
the subjects of that commonwealth, hath no power over him. Those who have
the supreme power of making laws in England, France or Holland, are to an
Indian, but like the rest of the world, men without authority: and
therefore, if by the law of nature every man hath not a power to punish
offences against it, as he soberly judges the case to require, I see not how
the magistrates of any community can punish an alien of another country;
since, in reference to him, they can have no more power than what every man
naturally may have over another.

Sec. 10. Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying
from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and
declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious
creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some
other man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who hath
received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with
other men, a particular right to seek reparation from him that has done it:
and any other person, who finds it just, may also join with him that is
injured, and assist him in recovering from the offender so much as may make
satisfaction for the harm he has suffered.

Sec. 11. From these two distinct rights, the one of punishing the crime for
restraint, and preventing the like offence, which right of punishing is in
every body; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to the
injured party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being magistrate
hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can often, where the
public good demands not the execution of the law, remit the punishment of
criminal offences by his own authority, but yet cannot remit the
satisfaction due to any private man for the damage he has received. That, he
who has suffered the damage has a right to demand in his own name, and he
alone can remit: the damnified person has this power of appropriating to
himself the goods or service of the offender, by right of self-preservation,
as every man has a power to punish the crime, to prevent its being committed
again, by the right he has of preserving all mankind, and doing all
reasonable things he can in order to that end: and thus it is, that every
man, in the state of nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter
others from doing the like injury, which no reparation can compensate, by
the example of the punishment that attends it from every body, and also to
secure men from the attempts of a criminal, who having renounced reason, the
common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust
violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all
mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, one of those
wild savage beasts, with whom men can have no society nor security: and upon
this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by
man shall his blood be shed. And Cain was so fully convinced, that every one
had a right to destroy such a criminal, that after the murder of his
brother, he cries out, Every one that findeth me, shall slay me; so plain
was it writ in the hearts of all mankind.

Sec. 12. By the same reason may a man in the state of nature punish the
lesser breaches of that law. It will perhaps be demanded, with death? I
answer, each transgression may be punished to that degree, and with so much
severity, as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give
him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the like. Every offence,
that can be committed in the state of nature, may in the state of nature be
also punished equally, and as far forth as it may, in a commonwealth: for
though it would be besides my present purpose, to enter here into the
particulars of the law of nature, or its measures of punishment; yet, it is
certain there is such a law, and that too, as intelligible and plain to a
rational creature, and a studier of that law, as the positive laws of
commonwealths; nay, possibly plainer; as much as reason is easier to be
understood, than the fancies and intricate contrivances of men, following
contrary and hidden interests put into words; for so truly are a great part
of the municipal laws of countries, which are only so far right, as they are
founded on the law of nature, by which they are to be regulated and
interpreted.

Sec. 13. To this strange doctrine, viz. That in the state of nature
every one has the executive power of the law of nature, I doubt not but
it will be objected, that it is unreasonable for men to be judges in
their own cases, that selflove will make men partial to themselves and
their friends: and on the other side, that ill nature, passion and
revenge will carry them too far in punishing others; and hence nothing
but confusion and disorder will follow, and that therefore God hath
certainly appointed government to restrain the partiality and violence
of men. I easily grant, that civil government is the proper remedy for
the inconveniencies of the state of nature, which must certainly be
great, where men may be judges in their own case, since it is easy to be
imagined, that he who was so unjust as to do his brother an injury, will
scarce be so just as to condemn himself for it: but I shall desire those
who make this objection, to remember, that absolute monarchs are but
men; and if government is to be the remedy of those evils, which
necessarily follow from men’s being judges in their own cases, and the
state of nature is therefore not to be endured, I desire to know what
kind of government that is, and how much better it is than the state of
nature, where one man, commanding a multitude, has the liberty to be
judge in his own case, and may do to all his subjects whatever he
pleases, without the least liberty to any one to question or controul
those who execute his pleasure and in whatsoever he doth, whether led by
reason, mistake or passion, must be submitted to. Much better it is in
the state of nature, wherein men are not bound to submit to the unjust
will of another. And if he that judges, judges amiss in his own, or any
other case, he is answerable for it to the rest of mankind.

Sec. 14. It is often asked as a mighty objection, where are, or ever were
there any men in such a state of nature? To which it may suffice as an
answer at present, that since all princes and rulers of independent
governments all through the world, are in a state of nature, it is plain the
world never was, nor ever will be, without numbers of men in that state. I
have named all governors of independent communities, whether they are, or
are not, in league with others: for it is not every compact that puts an end
to the state of nature between men, but only this one of agreeing together
mutually to enter into one community, and make one body politic; other
promises, and compacts, men may make one with another, and yet still be in
the state of nature. The promises and bargains for truck, &c. between the
two men in the desert island, mentioned by Garcilasso de la Vega, in his
history of Peru; or between a Swiss and an Indian, in the woods of America,
are binding to them, though they are perfectly in a state of nature, in
reference to one another: for truth and keeping of faith belongs to men, as
men, and not as members of society.

Sec. 15. To those that say, there were never any men in the state of nature,
I will not only oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker, Eccl. Pol.
lib. i. sect. 10, where he says, The laws which have been hitherto
mentioned, i.e. the laws of nature, do bind men absolutely, even as they are
men, although they have never any settled fellowship, never any solemn
agreement amongst themselves what to do, or not to do: but forasmuch as we
are not by ourselves sufficient to furnish ourselves with competent store of
things, needful for such a life as our nature doth desire, a life fit for
the dignity of man; therefore to supply those defects and imperfections
which are in us, as living single and solely by ourselves, we are naturally
induced to seek communion and fellowship with others: this was the cause of
men’s uniting themselves at first in politic societies. But I moreover
affirm, that all men are naturally in that state, and remain so, till by
their own consents they make themselves members of some politic society; and
I doubt not in the sequel of this discourse, to make it very clear.

CHAP. III. Of the State of War.

Sec. 16. THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and
therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a
sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war
with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed
his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins
with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and
just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with
destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be
preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of
the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war
upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that
he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the
commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and
so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures,
that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

Sec. 17. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his
absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it
being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I
have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my
consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me
too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his
absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against
the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is
the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an
enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the
fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts
himself into a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would
take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must
necessarily be supposed to have a foundationtofeallathevrest;hasghelthat,hin
theestateeofgsociety, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that
society or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them
every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

Sec. 18. This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the
least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by
the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or
what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to
get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to
suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me
in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me
to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e.
kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever
introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

Sec. 19. And here we have the plain difference between the state of nature
and the state of war, which however some men have confounded, are as far
distant, as a state of peace, good will, mutual assistance and preservation,
and a state of enmity, malice, violence and mutual destruction, are one from
another. Men living together according to reason, without a common superior
on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of
nature. But force, or a declared design of force, upon the person of
another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief,
is the state of war: and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the
right of war even against an aggressor, tho’ he be in society and a fellow
subject. Thus a thief, whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for
having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me
but of my horse or coat; because the law, which was made for my
preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present
force, which, if lost, is capable of no reparation, permits me my own
defence, and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the
aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common judge, nor the decision of
the law, for remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable. Want of
a common judge with authority, puts all men in a state of nature: force
without right, upon a man’s person, makes a state of war, both where there
is, and is not, a common judge.

Sec. 20. But when the actual force is over, the state of war ceases between
those that are in society, and are equally on both sides subjected to the
fair determination of the law; because then there lies open the remedy of
appeal for the past injury, and to prevent future harm: but where no such
appeal is, as in the state of nature, for want of positive laws, and judges
with authority to appeal to, the state of war once begun, continues, with a
right to the innocent party to destroy the other whenever he can, until the
aggressor offers peace, and desires reconciliation on such terms as may
repair any wrongs he has already done, and secure the innocent for the
future; nay, where an appeal to the law, and constituted judges, lies open,
but the remedy is denied by a manifest perverting of justice, and a
barefaced wresting of the laws to protect or indemnify the violence or
injuries of some men, or party of men, there it is hard to imagine any thing
but a state of war: for wherever violence is used, and injury done, though
by hands appointed to administer justice, it is still violence and injury,
however coloured with the name, pretences, or forms of law, the end whereof
being to protect and redress the innocent, by an unbiassed application of
it, to all who are under it; wherever that is not bona fide done, war is
made upon the sufferers, who having no appeal on earth to right them, they
are left to the only remedy in such cases, an appeal to heaven.

Sec. 21. To avoid this state of war (wherein there is no appeal but to
heaven, and wherein every the least difference is apt to end, where there is
no authority to decide between the contenders) is one great reason of men’s
putting themselves into society, and quitting the state of nature: for where
there is an authority, a power on earth, from which relief can be had by
appeal, there the continuance of the state of war is excluded, and the
controversy is decided by that power. Had there been any such court, any
superior jurisdiction on earth, to determine the right between Jephtha and
the Ammonites, they had never come to a state of war: but we see he was
forced to appeal to heaven. The Lord the Judge (says he) be judge this day
between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon, Judg. xi. 27. and
then prosecuting, and relying on his appeal, he leads out his army to
battle: and therefore in such controversies, where the question is put, who
shall be judge? It cannot be meant, who shall decide the controversy; every
one knows what Jephtha here tells us, that the Lord the Judge shall judge.
Where there is no judge on earth, the appeal lies to God in heaven. That
question then cannot mean, who shall judge, whether another hath put himself
in a state of war with me, and whether I may, as Jephtha did, appeal to
heaven in it? of that I myself can only be judge in my own conscience, as I
will answer it, at the great day, to the supreme judge of all men.

CHAP. IV. Of Slavery.

Sec. 22. THE natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on
earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to
have only the law of nature for his rule. The liberty of man, in society, is
to be under no other legislative power, but that established, by consent, in
the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any
law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in
it. Freedom then is not what Sir Robert Filmer tells us, Observations, A.
55. a liberty for every one to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and
not to be tied by any laws: but freedom of men under government is, to have
a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by
the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all
things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the
inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man: as freedom of
nature is, to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.

Sec. 23. This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to,
and closely joined with a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it,
but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not
having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent,
enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary
power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases. No body can give
more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life,
cannot give another power over it. Indeed, having by his fault forfeited his
own life, by some act that deserves death; he, to whom he has forfeited it,
may (when he has him in his power) delay to take it, and make use of him to
his own service, and he does him no injury by it: for, whenever he finds the
hardship of his slavery outweigh the value of his life, it is in his power,
by resisting the will of his master, to draw on himself the death he
desires.

Sec. 24. This is the perfect condition of slavery, which is nothing else,
but the state of war continued, between a lawful conqueror and a captive:
for, if once compact enter between them, and make an agreement for a limited
power on the one side, and obedience on the other, the state of war and
slavery ceases, as long as the compact endures: for, as has been said, no
man can, by agreement, pass over to another that which he hath not in
himself, a power over his own life.

I confess, we find among the Jews, as well as other nations, that men did
sell themselves; but, it is plain, this was only to drudgery, not to
slavery: for, it is evident, the person sold was not under an absolute,
arbitrary, despotical power: for the master could not have power to kill
him, at any time, whom, at a certain time, he was obliged to let go free out
of his service; and the master of such a servant was so far from having an
arbitrary power over his life, that he could not, at pleasure, so much as
maim him, but the loss of an eye, or tooth, set him free, Exod. xxi.

CHAP. V. Of Property.

Sec. 25. Whether we consider natural reason, which tells us, that men, being
once born, have a right to their preservation, and consequently to meat and
drink, and such other things as nature affords for their subsistence: or
revelation, which gives us an account of those grants God made of the world
to Adam, and to Noah, and his sons, it is very clear, that God, as king
David says, Psal. cxv. 16. has given the earth to the children of men; given
it to mankind in common. But this being supposed, it seems to some a very
great difficulty, how any one should ever come to have a property in any
thing: I will not content myself to answer, that if it be difficult to make
out property, upon a supposition that God gave the world to Adam, and his
posterity in common, it is impossible that any man, but one universal
monarch, should have any property upon a supposition, that God gave the
world to Adam, and his heirs in succession, exclusive of all the rest of his
posterity. But I shall endeavour to shew, how men might come to have a
property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and
that without any express compact of all the commoners.

Sec. 26. God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also given
them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and
convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the
support and comfort of their being. And tho’ all the fruits it naturally
produces, and beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common, as they are
produced by the spontaneous hand of nature; and no body has originally a
private dominion, exclusive of the rest of mankind, in any of them, as they
are thus in their natural state: yet being given for the use of men, there
must of necessity be a means to appropriate them some way or other, before
they can be of any use, or at all beneficial to any particular man. The
fruit, or venison, which nourishes the wild Indian, who knows no enclosure,
and is still a tenant in common, must be his, and so his, i.e. a part of
him, that another can no longer have any right to it, before it can do him
any good for the support of his life.

Sec. 27. Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men,
yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right
to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may
say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that
nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and
joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.
It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it
hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right
of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the
labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at
least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.

Sec. 28. He that is nourished by the acorns he picked up under an oak, or
the apples he gathered from the trees in the wood, has certainly
appropriated them to himself. No body can deny but the nourishment is his. I
ask then, when did they begin to be his? when he digested? or when he eat?
or when he boiled? or when he brought them home? or when he picked them up?
and it is plain, if the first gathering made them not his, nothing else
could. That labour put a distinction between them and common: that added
something to them more than nature, the common mother of all, had done; and
so they became his private right. And will any one say, he had no right to
those acorns or apples, he thus appropriated, because he had not the consent
of all mankind to make them his? Was it a robbery thus to assume to himself
what belonged to all in common? If such a consent as that was necessary, man
had starved, notwithstanding the plenty God had given him. We see in
commons, which remain so by compact, that it is the taking any part of what
is common, and removing it out of the state nature leaves it in, which
begins the property; without which the common is of no use. And the taking
of this or that part, does not depend on the express consent of all the
commoners. Thus the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut;
and the ore I have digged in any place, where I have a right to them in
common with others, become my property, without the assignation or consent
of any body. The labour that was mine, removing them out of that common
state they were in, hath fixed my property in them.

Sec. 29. By making an explicit consent of every commoner, necessary to any
one’s appropriating to himself any part of what is given in common, children
or servants could not cut the meat, which their father or master had
provided for them in common, without assigning to every one his peculiar
part. Though the water running in the fountain be every one’s, yet who can
doubt, but that in the pitcher is his only who drew it out? His labour hath
taken it out of the hands of nature, where it was common, and belonged
equally to all her children, and hath thereby appropriated it to himself.

Sec. 30. Thus this law of reason makes the deer that Indian’s who hath
killed it; it is allowed to be his goods, who hath bestowed his labour upon
it, though before it was the common right of every one. And amongst those
who are counted the civilized part of mankind, who have made and multiplied
positive laws to determine property, this original law of nature, for the
beginning of property, in what was before common, still takes place; and by
virtue thereof, what fish any one catches in the ocean, that great and still
remaining common of mankind; or what ambergrise any one takes up here, is by
the labour that removes it out of that common state nature left it in, made
his property, who takes that pains about it. And even amongst us, the hare
that any one is hunting, is thought his who pursues her during the chase:
for being a beast that is still looked upon as common, and no man’s private
possession; whoever has employed so much labour about any of that kind, as
to find and pursue her, has thereby removed her from the state of nature,
wherein she was common, and hath begun a property.

Sec. 31. It will perhaps be objected to this, that if gathering the acorns,
or other fruits of the earth, &c. makes a right to them, then any one may
ingross as much as he will. To which I answer, Not so. The same law of
nature, that does by this means give us property, does also bound that
property too. God has given us all things richly, 1 Tim. vi. 12. is the
voice of reason confirmed by inspiration. But how far has he given it us? To
enjoy. As much as any one can make use of to any advantage of life before it
spoils, so much he may by his Tabour fix a property in: whatever is beyond
this, is more than his share, and belongs to others. Nothing was made by God
for man to spoil or destroy. And thus, considering the plenty of natural
provisions there was a long time in the world, and the few spenders; and to
how small a part of that provision the industry of one man could extend
itself, and ingross it to the prejudice of others; especially keeping within
the bounds, set by reason, of what might serve for his use; there could be
then little room for quarrels or contentions about property so established.

Sec. 32. But the chief matter of property being now not the fruits of the
earth, and the beasts that subsist on it, but the earth itself; as that
which takes in and carries with it all the rest; I think it is plain, that
property in that too is acquired as the former. As much land as a man tills,
plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his
property. He by his labour does, as it were, inclose it from the common. Nor
will it invalidate his right, to say every body else has an equal title to
it; and therefore he cannot appropriate, he cannot inclose, without the
consent of all his fellow-commoners, all mankind. God, when he gave the
world in common to all mankind, commanded man also to labour, and the penury
of his condition required it of him. God and his reason commanded him to
subdue the earth, i.e. improve it for the benefit of life, and therein lay
out something upon it that was his own, his labour. He that in obedience to
this command of God, subdued, tilled and sowed any part of it, thereby
annexed to it something that was his property, which another had no title
to, nor could without injury take from him.

Sec. 33. Nor was this appropriation of any parcel of land, by improving it,
any prejudice to any other man, since there was still enough, and as good
left; and more than the yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there
was never the less left for others because of his enclosure for himself: for
he that leaves as much as another can make use of, does as good as take
nothing at all. No body could think himself injured by the drinking of
another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the
same water left him to quench his thirst: and the case of land and water,
where there is enough of both, is perfectly the same.

Sec. 34. God gave the world to men in common; but since he gave it them for
their benefit, and the greatest conveniencies of life they were capable to
draw from it, it cannot be supposed he meant it should always remain common
and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational,
(and labour was to be his title to it;) not to the fancy or covetousness of
the quarrelsome and contentious. He that had as good left for his
improvement, as was already taken up, needed not complain, ought not to
meddle with what was already improved by another’s labour: if he did, it is
plain he desired the benefit of another’s pains, which he had no right to,
and not the ground which God had given him in common with others to labour
on, and whereof there was as good left, as that already possessed, and more
than he knew what to do with, or his industry could reach to.

Sec. 35. It is true, in land that is common in England, or any other
country, where there is plenty of people under government, who have money
and commerce, no one can inclose or appropriate any part, without the
consent of all his fellowcommoners; because this is left common by compact,
i.e. by the law of the land, which is not to be violated. And though it be
common, in respect of some men, it is not so to all mankind; but is the
joint property of this country, or this parish. Besides, the remainder,
after such enclosure, would not be as good to the rest of the commoners, as
the whole was when they could all make use of the whole; whereas in the
beginning and first peopling of the great common of the world, it was quite
otherwise. The law man was under, was rather for appropriating. God
commanded, and his wants forced him to labour. That was his property which
could not be taken from him where-ever he had fixed it. And hence subduing
or cultivating the earth, and having dominion, we see are joined together.
The one gave title to the other. So that God, by commanding to subdue, gave
authority so far to appropriate: and the condition of human life, which
requires labour and materials to work on, necessarily introduces private
possessions.

Sec. 36. The measure of property nature has well set by the extent of men’s
labour and the conveniencies of life: no man’s labour could subdue, or
appropriate all; nor could his enjoyment consume more than a small part; so
that it was impossible for any man, this way, to intrench upon the right of
another, or acquire to himself a property, to the prejudice of his
neighbour, who would still have room for as good, and as large a possession
(after the other had taken out his) as before it was appropriated. This
measure did confine every man’s possession to a very moderate proportion,
and such as he might appropriate to himself, without injury to any body, in
the first ages of the world, when men were more in danger to be lost, by
wandering from their company, in the then vast wilderness of the earth, than
to be straitened for want of room to plant in. And the same measure may be
allowed still without prejudice to any body, as full as the world seems: for
supposing a man, or family, in the state they were at first peopling of the
world by the children of Adam, or Noah; let him plant in some inland, vacant
places of America, we shall find that the possessions he could make himself,
upon the measures we have given, would not be very large, nor, even to this
day, prejudice the rest of mankind, or give them reason to complain, or
think themselves injured by this man’s incroachment, though the race of men
have now spread themselves to all the corners of the world, and do
infinitely exceed the small number was at the beginning. Nay, the extent of
ground is of so little value, without labour, that I have heard it affirmed,
that in Spain itself a man may be permitted to plough, sow and reap, without
being disturbed, upon land he has no other title to, but only his making use
of it. But, on the contrary, the inhabitants think themselves beholden to
him, who, by his industry on neglected, and consequently waste land, has
increased the stock of corn, which they wanted. But be this as it will,
which I lay no stress on; this I dare boldly affirm, that the same rule of
propriety, (viz.) that every man should have as much as he could make use
of, would hold still in the world, without straitening any body; since there
is land enough in the world to suffice double the inhabitants, had not the
invention of money, and the tacit agreement of men to put a value on it,
introduced (by consent) larger possessions, and a right to them; which, how
it has done, I shall by and by shew more at large.

Sec. 37. This is certain, that in the beginning, before the desire of having
more than man needed had altered the intrinsic value of things, which
depends only on their usefulness to the life of man; or had agreed, that a
little piece of yellow metal, which would keep without wasting or decay,
should be worth a great piece of flesh, or a whole heap of corn; though men
had a right to appropriate, by their labour, each one of himself, as much of
the things of nature, as he could use: yet this could not be much, nor to
the prejudice of others, where the same plenty was still left to those who
would use the same industry. To which let me add, that he who appropriates
land to himself by his labour, does not lessen, but increase the common
stock of mankind: for the provisions serving to the support of human life,
produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, are (to speak much
within compass) ten times more than those which are yielded by an acre of
land of an equal richness lying waste in common. And therefore he that
incloses land, and has a greater plenty of the conveniencies of life from
ten acres, than he could have from an hundred left to nature, may truly be
said to give ninety acres to mankind: for his labour now supplies him with
provisions out of ten acres, which were but the product of an hundred lying
in common. I have here rated the improved land very low, in making its
product but as ten to one, when it is much nearer an hundred to one: for I
ask, whether in the wild woods and uncultivated waste of America, left to
nature, without any improvement, tillage or husbandry, a thousand acres
yield the needy and wretched inhabitants as many conveniencies of life, as
ten acres of equally fertile land do in Devonshire, where they are well
cultivated?

Before the appropriation of land, he who gathered as much of the wild fruit,
killed, caught, or tamed, as many of the beasts, as he could; he that so
imployed his pains about any of the spontaneous products of nature, as any
way to alter them from the state which nature put them in, by placing any of
his labour on them, did thereby acquire a propriety in them: but if they
perished, in his possession, without their due use; if the fruits rotted, or
the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the
common law of nature, and was liable to be punished; he invaded his
neighbour’s share, for he had no right, farther than his use called for any
of them, and they might serve to afford him conveniencies of life.

Sec. 38. The same measures governed the possession of land too: whatsoever
he tilled and reaped, laid up and made use of, before it spoiled, that was
his peculiar right; whatsoever he enclosed, and could feed, and make use of,
the cattle and product was also his. But if either the grass of his
enclosure rotted on the ground, or the fruit of his planting perished
without gathering, and laying up, this part of the earth, notwithstanding
his enclosure, was still to be looked on as waste, and might be the
possession of any other. Thus, at the beginning, Cain might take as much
ground as he could till, and make it his own land, and yet leave enough to
Abel’s sheep to feed on; a few acres would serve for both their possessions.
But as families increased, and industry inlarged their stocks, their
possessions inlarged with the need of them; but yet it was commonly without
any fixed property in the ground they made use of, till they incorporated,
settled themselves together, and built cities; and then, by consent, they
came in time, to set out the bounds of their distinct territories, and agree
on limits between them and their neighbours; and by laws within themselves,
settled the properties of those of the same society: for we see, that in
that part of the world which was first inhabited, and therefore like to be
best peopled, even as low down as Abraham’s time, they wandered with their
flocks, and their herds, which was their substance, freely up and down; and
this Abraham did, in a country where he was a stranger. Whence it is plain,
that at least a great part of the land lay in common; that the inhabitants
valued it not, nor claimed property in any more than they made use of. But
when there was not room enough in the same place, for their herds to feed
together, they by consent, as Abraham and Lot did, Gen. xiii. 5. separated
and inlarged their pasture, where it best liked them. And for the same
reason Esau went from his father, and his brother, and planted in mount
Seir, Gen. xxxvi. 6.

Sec. 39. And thus, without supposing any private dominion, and property in
Adam, over all the world, exclusive of all other men, which can no way be
proved, nor any one’s property be made out from it; but supposing the world
given, as it was, to the children of men in common, we see how labour could
make men distinct titles to several parcels of it, for their private uses;
wherein there could be no doubt of right, no room for quarrel.

Sec. 40. Nor is it so strange, as perhaps before consideration it may
appear, that the property of labour should be able to over-balance the
community of land: for it is labour indeed that puts the difference of value
on every thing; and let any one consider what the difference is between an
acre of land planted with tobacco or sugar, sown with wheat or barley, and
an acre of the same land lying in common, without any husbandry upon it, and
he will find, that the improvement of labour makes the far greater part of
the value. I think it will be but a very modest computation to say, that of
the products of the earth useful to the life of man nine tenths are the
effects of labour: nay, if we will rightly estimate things as they come to
our use, and cast up the several expences about them, what in them is purely
owing to nature, and what to labour, we shall find, that in most of them
ninety-nine hundredths are wholly to be put on the account of labour.

Sec. 41. There cannot be a clearer demonstration of any thing, than several
nations of the Americans are of this, who are rich in land, and poor in all
the comforts of life; whom nature having furnished as liberally as any other
people, with the materials of plenty, i.e. a fruitful soil, apt to produce
in abundance, what might serve for food, raiment, and delight; yet for want
of improving it by labour, have not one hundredth part of the conveniencies
we enjoy: and a king of a large and fruitful territory there, feeds, lodges,
and is clad worse than a day-labourer in England.

Sec. 42. To make this a little clearer, let us but trace some of the
ordinary provisions of life, through their several progresses, before they
come to our use, and see how much they receive of their value from human
industry. Bread, wine and cloth, are things of daily use, and great plenty;
yet notwithstanding, acorns, water and leaves, or skins, must be our bread,
drink and cloathing, did not labour furnish us with these more useful
commodities: for whatever bread is more worth than acorns, wine than water,
and cloth or silk, than leaves, skins or moss, that is wholly owing to
labour and industry; the one of these being the food and raiment which
unassisted nature furnishes us with; the other, provisions which our
industry and pains prepare for us, which how much they exceed the other in
value, when any one hath computed, he will then see how much labour makes
the far greatest part of the value of things we enjoy in this world: and the
ground which produces the materials, is scarce to be reckoned in, as any, or
at most, but a very small part of it; so little, that even amongst us, land
that is left wholly to nature, that hath no improvement of pasturage,
tillage, or planting, is called, as indeed it is, waste; and we shall find
the benefit of it amount to little more than nothing.

This shews how much numbers of men are to be preferred to largeness of
dominions; and that the increase of lands, and the right employing of them,
is the great art of government: and that prince, who shall be so wise and
godlike, as by established laws of liberty to secure protection and
encouragement to the honest industry of mankind, against the oppression of
power and narrowness of party, will quickly be too hard for his neighbours:
but this by the by. To return to the argument in hand,

Sec. 43. An acre of land, that bears here twenty bushels of wheat, and
another in America, which, with the same husbandry, would do the like, are,
without doubt, of the same natural intrinsic value: but yet the benefit
mankind receives from the one in a year, is worth 5l. and from the other
possibly not worth a penny, if all the profit an Indian received from it
were to be valued, and sold here; at least, I may truly say, not one
thousandth. It is labour then which puts the greatest part of value upon
land, without which it would scarcely be worth any thing: it is to that we
owe the greatest part of all its useful products; for all that the straw,
bran, bread, of that acre of wheat, is more worth than the product of an
acre of as good land, which lies waste, is all the effect of labour: for it
is not barely the plough-man’s pains, the reaper’s and thresher’s toil, and
the baker’s sweat, is to be counted into the bread we eat; the labour of
those who broke the oxen, who digged and wrought the iron and stones, who
felled and framed the timber employed about the plough, mill, oven, or any
other utensils, which are a vast number, requisite to this corn, from its
being feed to be sown to its being made bread, must all be charged on the
account of labour, and received as an effect of that: nature and the earth
furnished only the almost worthless materials, as in themselves. It would be
a strange catalogue of things, that industry provided and made use of, about
every loaf of bread, before it came to our use, if we could trace them;
iron, wood, leather, bark, timber, stone, bricks, coals, lime, cloth, dying
drugs, pitch, tar, masts, ropes, and all the materials made use of in the
ship, that brought any of the commodities made use of by any of the workmen,
to any part of the work; all which it would be almost impossible, at least
too long, to reckon up.

Sec. 44. From all which it is evident, that though the things of nature are
given in common, yet man, by being master of himself, and proprietor of his
own person, and the actions or labour of it, had still in himself the great
foundation of property; and that, which made up the great part of what he
applied to the support or comfort of his being, when invention and arts had
improved the conveniencies of life, was perfectly his own, and did not
belong in common to others.

Sec. 45. Thus labour, in the beginning, gave a right of property, wherever
any one was pleased to employ it upon what was common, which remained a long
while the far greater part, and is yet more than mankind makes use of. Men,
at first, for the most part, contented themselves with what unassisted
nature offered to their necessities: and though afterwards, in some parts of
the world, (where the increase of people and stock, with the use of money,
had made land scarce, and so of some value) the several communities settled
the bounds of their distinct territories, and by laws within themselves
regulated the properties of the private men of their society, and so, by
compact and agreement, settled the property which labour and industry began;
and the leagues that have been made between several states and kingdoms,
either expresly or tacitly disowning all claim and right to the land in the
others possession, have, by common consent, given up their pretences to
their natural common right, which originally they had to those countries,
and so have, by positive agreement, settled a property amongst themselves,
in distinct parts and parcels of the earth; yet there are still great tracts
of ground to be found, which (the inhabitants thereof not having joined with
the rest of mankind, in the consent of the use of their common money) lie
waste, and are more than the people who dwell on it do, or can make use of,
and so still lie in common; tho’ this can scarce happen amongst that part of
mankind that have consented to the use of money.

Sec. 46. The greatest part of things really useful to the life of man, and
such as the necessity of subsisting made the first commoners of the world
look after, as it doth the Americans now, are generally things of short
duration; such as, if they are not consumed by use, will decay and perish of
themselves: gold, silver and diamonds, are things that fancy or agreement
hath put the value on, more than real use, and the necessary support of
life. Now of those good things which nature hath provided in common, every
one had a right (as hath been said) to as much as he could use, and property
in all that he could effect with his labour; all that his industry could
extend to, to alter from the state nature had put it in, was his. He that
gathered a hundred bushels of acorns or apples, had thereby a property in
them, they were his goods as soon as gathered. He was only to look, that he
used them before they spoiled, else he took more than his share, and robbed
others. And indeed it was a foolish thing, as well as dishonest, to hoard up
more than he could make use of. If he gave away a part to any body else, so
that it perished not uselesly in his possession, these he also made use of.
And if he also bartered away plums, that would have rotted in a week, for
nuts that would last good for his eating a whole year, he did no injury; he
wasted not the common stock; destroyed no part of the portion of goods that
belonged to others, so long as nothing perished uselesly in his hands.
Again, if he would give his nuts for a piece of metal, pleased with its
colour; or exchange his sheep for shells, or wool for a sparkling pebble or
a diamond, and keep those by him all his life he invaded not the right of
others, he might heap up as much of these durable things as he pleased; the
exceeding of the bounds of his just property not lying in the largeness of
his possession, but the perishing of any thing uselesly in it.

Sec. 47. And thus came in the use of money, some lasting thing that men
might keep without spoiling, and that by mutual consent men would take in
exchange for the truly useful, but perishable supports of life.

Sec. 48. And as different degrees of industry were apt to give men
possessions in different proportions, so this invention of money gave them
the opportunity to continue and enlarge them: for supposing an island,
separate from all possible commerce with the rest of the world, wherein
there were but an hundred families, but there were sheep, horses and cows,
with other useful animals, wholsome fruits, and land enough for corn for a
hundred thousand times as many, but nothing in the island, either because of
its commonness, or perishableness, fit to supply the place of money; what
reason could any one have there to enlarge his possessions beyond the use of
his family, and a plentiful supply to its consumption, either in what their
own industry produced, or they could barter for like perishable, useful
commodities, with others? Where there is not some thing, both lasting and
scarce, and so valuable to be hoarded up, there men will not be apt to
enlarge their possessions of land, were it never so rich, never so free for
them to take: for I ask, what would a man value ten thousand, or an hundred
thousand acres of excellent land, ready cultivated, and well stocked too
with cattle, in the middle of the inland parts of America, where he had no
hopes of commerce with other parts of the world, to draw money to him by the
sale of the product? It would not be worth the enclosing, and we should see
him give up again to the wild common of nature, whatever was more than would
supply the conveniencies of life to be had there for him and his family.

Sec. 49. Thus in the beginning all the world was America, and more so than
that is now; for no such thing as money was any where known. Find out
something that hath the use and value of money amongst his neighbours, you
shall see the same man will begin presently to enlarge his possessions.

Sec. 50. But since gold and silver, being little useful to the life of man
in proportion to food, raiment, and carriage, has its value only from the
consent of men, whereof labour yet makes, in great part, the measure, it is
plain, that men have agreed to a disproportionate and unequal possession of
the earth, they having, by a tacit and voluntary consent, found out, a way
how a man may fairly possess more land than he himself can use the product
of, by receiving in exchange for the overplus gold and silver, which may be
hoarded up without injury to any one; these metals not spoiling or decaying
in the hands of the possessor. This partage of things in an inequality of
private possessions, men have made practicable out of the bounds of society,
and without compact, only by putting a value on gold and silver, and tacitly
agreeing in the use of money: for in governments, the laws regulate the
right of property, and the possession of land is determined by positive
constitutions.

Sec. 51. And thus, I think, it is very easy to conceive, without any
difficulty, how labour could at first begin a title of property in the
common things of nature, and how the spending it upon our uses bounded it.
So that there could then be no reason of quarrelling about title, nor any
doubt about the largeness of possession it gave. Right and conveniency went
together; for as a man had a right to all he could employ his labour upon,
so he had no temptation to labour for more than he could make use of. This
left no room for controversy about the title, nor for encroachment on the
right of others; what portion a man carved to himself, was easily seen; and
it was useless, as well as dishonest, to carve himself too much, or take
more than he needed.

CHAP. VII. Of Political or Civil Society.

Sec. 77. GOD having made man such a creature, that in his own judgment, it
was not good for him to be alone, put him under strong obligations of
necessity, convenience, and inclination to drive him into society, as well
as fitted him with understanding and language to continue and enjoy it. The
first society was between man and wife, which gave beginning to that between
parents and children; to which, in time, that between master and servant
came to be added: and though all these might, and commonly did meet
together, and make up but one family, wherein the master or mistress of it
had some sort of rule proper to a family; each of these, or all together,
came short of political society, as we shall see, if we consider the
different ends, ties, and bounds of each of these.

Sec. 78. Conjugal society is made by a voluntary compact between man and
woman; and tho’ it consist chiefly in such a communion and right in one
another’s bodies as is necessary to its chief end, procreation; yet it draws
with it mutual support and assistance, and a communion of interests too, as
necessary not only to unite their care and affection, but also necessary to
their common off-spring, who have a right to be nourished, and maintained by
them, till they are able to provide for themselves.

Sec. 79. For the end of conjunction, between male and female, being not
barely procreation, but the continuation of the species; this conjunction
betwixt male and female ought to last, even after procreation, so long as is
necessary to the nourishment and support of the young ones, who are to be
sustained even after procreation, so long as is necessary to the nourishment
and support of the young ones, who are to be sustained by those that got
them, till they are able to shift and provide for themselves. This rule,
which the infinite wise maker hath set to the works of his hands, we find
the inferior creatures steadily obey. In those viviparous animals which feed
on grass, the conjunction between male and female lasts no longer than the
very act of copulation; because the teat of the dam being sufficient to
nourish the young, till it be able to feed on grass, the male only begets,
but concerns not himself for the female or young, to whose sustenance he can
contribute nothing. But in beasts of prey the conjunction lasts longer:
because the dam not being able well to subsist herself, and nourish her
numerous off-spring by her own prey alone, a more laborious, as well as more
dangerous way of living, than by feeding on grass, the assistance of the
male is necessary to the maintenance of their common family, which cannot
subsist till they are able to prey for themselves, but by the joint care of
male and female. The same is to be observed in all birds, (except some
domestic ones, where plenty of food excuses the cock from feeding, and
taking care of the young brood) whose young needing food in the nest, the
cock and hen continue mates, till the young are able to use their wing, and
provide for themselves.

Sec. 80. And herein I think lies the chief, if not the only reason, why the
male and female in mankind are tied to a longer conjunction than other
creatures, viz. because the female is capable of conceiving, and de facto is
commonly with child again, and brings forth too a new birth, long before the
former is out of a dependency for support on his parents help, and able to
shift for himself, and has all the assistance is due to him from his
parents: whereby the father, who is bound to take care for those he hath
begot, is under an obligation to continue in conjugal society with the same
woman longer than other creatures, whose young being able to subsist of
themselves, before the time of procreation returns again, the conjugal bond
dissolves of itself, and they are at liberty, till Hymen at his usual
anniversary season summons them again to chuse new mates. Wherein one cannot
but admire the wisdom of the great Creator, who having given to man
foresight, and an ability to lay up for the future, as well as to supply the
present necessity, hath made it necessary, that society of man and wife
should be more lasting, than of male and female amongst other creatures;
that so their industry might be encouraged, and their interest better
united, to make provision and lay up goods for their common issue, which
uncertain mixture, or easy and frequent solutions of conjugal society would
mightily disturb.

Sec. 81. But tho’these are ties upon mankind, which make the conjugal bonds
more firm and lasting in man, than the other species of animals; yet it
would give one reason to enquire, why this compact, where procreation and
education are secured, and inheritance taken care for, may not be made
determinable, either by consent, or at a certain time, or upon certain
conditions, as well as any other voluntary compacts, there being no
necessity in the nature of the thing, nor to the ends of it, that it should
always be for life; I mean, to such as are under no restraint of any
positive law, which ordains all such contracts to be perpetual.

Sec. 82. But the husband and wife, though they have but one common concern,
yet having different understandings, will unavoidably sometimes have
different wills too; it therefore being necessary that the last
determination, i. e. the rule, should be placed somewhere; it naturally
falls to the man’s share, as the abler and the stronger. But this reaching
but to the things of their common interest and property, leaves the wife in
the full and free possession of what by contract is her peculiar right, and
gives the husband no more power over her life than she has over his; the
power of the husband being so far from that of an absolute monarch, that the
wife has in many cases a liberty to separate from him, where natural right,
or their contract allows it; whether that contract be made by themselves in
the state of nature, or by the customs or laws of the country they live in;
and the children upon such separation fall to the father or mother’s lot, as
such contract does determine.

Sec. 83. For all the ends of marriage being to be obtained under politic
government, as well as in the state of nature, the civil magistrate doth
not abridge the right or power of either naturally necessary to those ends,
viz. procreation and mutual support and assistance whilst they are together;
but only decides any controversy that may arise between man and wife about
them. If it were otherwise, and that absolute sovereignty and power of life
and death naturally belonged to the husband, and were necessary to the
society between man and wife, there could be no matrimony in any of those
countries where the husband is allowed no such absolute authority. But the
ends of matrimony requiring no such power in the husband, the condition of
conjugal society put it not in him, it being not at all necessary to that
state. Conjugal society could subsist and attain its ends without it; nay,
community of goods, and the power over them, mutual assistance and
maintenance, and other things belonging to conjugal society, might be varied
and regulated by that contract which unites man and wife in that society, as
far as may consist with procreation and the bringing up of children till
they could shift for themselves; nothing being necessary to any society,
that is not necessary to the ends for which it is made.

Sec. 84. The society betwixt parents and children, and the distinct rights
and powers belonging respectively to them, I have treated of so largely, in
the foregoing chapter, that I shall not here need to say any thing of it.
And I think it is plain, that it is far different from a politic society.

Sec. 85. Master and servant are names as old as history, but given to those
of far different condition; for a freeman makes himself a servant to
another, by selling him, for a certain time, the service he undertakes to
do, in exchange for wages he is to receive: and though this commonly puts
him into the family of his master, and under the ordinary discipline
thereof; yet it gives the master but a temporary power over him, and no
greater than what is contained in the contract between them. But there is
another sort of servants, which by a peculiar name we call slaves, who being
captives taken in a just war, are by the right of nature subjected to the
absolute dominion and arbitrary power of their masters. These men having, as
I say, forfeited their lives, and with it their liberties, and lost their
estates; and being in the state of slavery, not capable of any property,
cannot in that state be considered as any part of civil society; the chief
end whereof is the preservation of property.

Sec. 86. Let us therefore consider a master of a family with all these
subordinate relations of wife, children, servants, and slaves, united under
the domestic rule of a family; which, what resemblance soever it may have in
its order, offices, and number too, with a little common-wealth, yet is very
far from it, both in its constitution, power and end: or if it must be
thought a monarchy, and the paterfamilias the absolute monarch in it,
absolute monarchy will have but a very shattered and short power, when it is
plain, by what has been said before, that the master of the family has a
very distinct and differently limited power, both as to time and extent,
over those several persons that are in it; for excepting the slave (and the
family is as much a family, and his power as paterfamilias as great, whether
there be any slaves in his family or no) he has no legislative power of life
and death over any of them, and none too but what a mistress of a family may
have as well as he. And he certainly can have no absolute power over the
whole family, who has but a very limited one over every individual in it.
But how a family, or any other society of men, differ from that which is
properly political society, we shall best see, by considering wherein
political society itself consists.

Sec. 87. Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect
freedom, and an uncontrouled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of
the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the
world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is,
his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other
men; but to judge of, and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he
is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where
the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it. But because no
political society can be, nor subsist, without having in itself the power to
preserve the property, and in order thereunto, punish the offences of all
those of that society; there, and there only is political society, where
every one of the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up
into the hands of the community in all cases that exclude him not from
appealing for protection to the law established by it. And thus all private
judgment of every particular member being excluded, the community comes to
be umpire, by settled standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all
parties; and by men having authority from the community, for the execution
of those rules, decides all the differences that may happen between any
members of that society concerning any matter of right; and punishes those
offences which any member hath committed against the society, with such
penalties as the law has established: whereby it is easy to discern, who
are, and who are not, in political society together. Those who are united
into one body, and have a common established law and judicature to appeal
to, with authority to decide controversies between them, and punish
offenders, are in civil society one with another: but those who have no such
common appeal, I mean on earth, are still in the state of nature, each
being, where there is no other, judge for himself, and executioner; which
is, as I have before shewed it, the perfect state of nature.

Sec. 88. And thus the common-wealth comes by a power to set down what
punishment shall belong to the several transgressions which they think
worthy of it, committed amongst the members of that society, (which is the
power of making laws) as well as it has the power to punish any injury done
unto any of its members, by any one that is not of it, (which is the power
of war and peace;) and all this for the preservation of the property of all
the members of that society, as far as is possible. But though every man who
has entered into civil society, and is become a member of any commonwealth,
has thereby quitted his power to punish offences, against the law of nature,
in prosecution of his own private judgment, yet with the judgment of
offences, which he has given up to the legislative in all cases, where he
can appeal to the magistrate, he has given a right to the common-wealth to
employ his force, for the execution of the judgments of the common-wealth,
whenever he shall be called to it; which indeed are his own judgments, they
being made by himself, or his representative. And herein we have the
original of the legislative and executive power of civil society, which is
to judge by standing laws, how far offences are to be punished, when
committed within the common-wealth; and also to determine, by occasional
judgments founded on the present circumstances of the fact, how far injuries
from without are to be vindicated; and in both these to employ all the force
of all the members, when there shall be need.

Sec. 89. Where-ever therefore any number of men are so united into one
society, as to quit every one his executive power of the law of nature, and
to resign it to the public, there and there only is a political, or civil
society. And this is done, where-ever any number of men, in the state of
nature, enter into society to make one people, one body politic, under one
supreme government; or else when any one joins himself to, and incorporates
with any government already made: for hereby he authorizes the society, or
which is all one, the legislative thereof, to make laws for him, as the
public good of the society shall require; to the execution whereof, his own
assistance (as to his own decrees) is due. And this puts men out of a state
of nature into that of a common-wealth, by setting up a judge on earth, with
authority to determine all the controversies, and redress the injuries that
may happen to any member of the commonwealth; which judge is the
legislative, or magistrates appointed by it. And where-ever there are any
number of men, however associated, that have no such decisive power to
appeal to, there they are still in the state of nature.

Sec. 90. Hence it is evident, that absolute monarchy, which by some men is
counted the only government in the world, is indeed inconsistent with civil
society, and so can be no form of civil-government at all: for the end of
civil society, being to avoid, and remedy those inconveniencies of the state
of nature, which necessarily follow from every man’s being judge in his own
case, by setting up a known authority, to which every one of that society
may appeal upon any injury received, or controversy that may arise, and
which every one of the* society ought to obey; where-ever any persons are,
who have not such an authority to appeal to, for the decision of any
difference between them, there those persons are still in the state of
nature; and so is every absolute prince, in respect of those who are under
his dominion.

(* The public power of all society is above every soul contained in the same
society; and the principal use of that power is, to give laws unto all that
are under it, which laws in such cases we must obey, unless there be reason
shewed which may necessarily inforce, that the law of reason, or of God,
doth enjoin the contrary, Hook. Eccl. Pol. l. i. sect. 16.)

Sec. 91. For he being supposed to have all, both legislative and executive
power in himself alone, there is no judge to be found, no appeal lies open
to any one, who may fairly, and indifferently, and with authority decide,
and from whose decision relief and redress may be expected of any injury or
inconviency, that may be suffered from the prince, or by his order: so that
such a man, however intitled, Czar, or Grand Seignior, or how you please, is
as much in the state of nature, with all under his dominion, as he is with
therest of mankind: for where-ever any two men are, who have no standing
rule, and common judge to appeal to on earth, for the determination of
controversies of right betwixt them, there they are still in the state of*
nature, and under all the inconveniencies of it, with only this woful
difference to the subject, or rather slave of an absolute prince: that
whereas, in the ordinary state of nature, he has a liberty to judge of his
right, and according to the best of his power, to maintain it; now, whenever
his property is invaded by the will and order of his monarch, he has not
only no appeal, as those in society ought to have, but as if he were
degraded from the common state of rational creatures, is denied a liberty to
judge of, or to defend his right; and so is exposed to all the misery and
inconveniencies, that a man can fear from one, who being in the unrestrained
state of nature, is yet corrupted with flattery, and armed with power.

(* To take away all such mutual grievances, injuries and wrongs, i.e. such
as attend men in the state of nature, there was no way but only by growing
into composition and agreement amongst themselves, by ordaining some kind of
govemment public, and by yielding themselves subject thereunto, that unto
whom they granted authority to rule and govem, by them the peace,
tranquillity and happy estate of the rest might be procured. Men always knew
that where force and injury was offered, they might be defenders of
themselves; they knew that however men may seek their own commodity, yet if
this were done with injury unto others, it was not to be suffered, but by
all men, and all good means to be withstood. Finally, they knew that no man
might in reason take upon him to determine his own right, and according to
his own determination proceed in maintenance thereof, in as much as every
man is towards himself, and them whom he greatly affects, partial; and
therefore that strifes and troubles would be endless, except they gave their
common consent, all to be ordered by some, whom they should agree upon,
without which consent there would be no reason that one man should take upon
him to be lord or judge over another, Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. l. i. sect. 10.)

Sec. 92. For he that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood, and
corrects the baseness of human nature, need read but the history of this, or
any other age, to be convinced of the contrary. He that would have been
insolent and injurious in the woods of America, would not probably be much
better in a throne; where perhaps learning and religion shall be found out
to justify all that he shall do to his subjects, and the sword presently
silence all those that dare question it: for what the protection of absolute
monarchy is, what kind of fathers of their countries it makes princes to be
and to what a degree of happiness and security it carries civil society,
where this sort of government is grown to perfection, he that will look into
the late relation of Ceylon, may easily see.

Sec. 93. In absolute monarchies indeed, as well as other governments of the
world, the subjects have an appeal to the law, and judges to decide any
controversies, and restrain any violence that may happen betwixt the
subjects themselves, one amongst another. This every one thinks necessary,
and believes he deserves to be thought a declared enemy to society and
mankind, who should go about to take it away. But whether this be from a
true love of mankind and society, and such a charity as we owe all one to
another, there is reason to doubt: for this is no more than what every man,
who loves his own power, profit, or greatness, may and naturally must do,
keep those animals from hurting, or destroying one another, who labour and
drudge only for his pleasure and advantage; and so are taken care of, not
out of any love the master has for them, but love of himself, and the profit
they bring him: for if it be asked, what security, what fence is there, in
such a state, against the violence and oppression of this absolute ruler?
the very question can scarce be borne. They are ready to tell you, that it
deserves death only to ask after safety. Betwixt subject and subject, they
will grant, there must be measures, laws and judges, for their mutual peace
and security: but as for the ruler, he ought to be absolute, and is above
all such circumstances; because he has power to do more hurt and wrong, it
is right when he does it. To ask how you may be guarded from harm, or
injury, on that side where the strongest hand is to do it, is presently the
voice of faction and rebellion: as if when men quitting the state of nature
entered into society, they agreed that all of them but one, should be under
the restraint of laws, but that he should still retain all the liberty of
the state of nature, increased with power, and made licentious by impunity.
This is to think, that men are so foolish, that they take care to avoid what
mischiefs may be done them by pole-cats, or foxes; but are content, nay,
think it safety, to be devoured by lions.

Sec. 94. But whatever flatterers may talk to amuse people’s understandings,
it hinders not men from feeling; and when they perceive, that any man, in
what station soever, is out of the bounds of the civil society which they
are of, and that they have no appeal on earth against any harm, they may
receive from him, they are apt to think themselves in the state of nature,
in respect of him whom they find to be so; and to take care, as soon as they
can, to have that safety and security in civil society, for which it was
first instituted, and for which only they entered into it. And therefore,
though perhaps at first , (as shall be shewed more at large hereafter in the
following part of this discourse) some one good and excellent man having got
a pre -eminency amongst the rest, had this deference paid to his goodness
and virtue, as to a kind of natural authority, that the chief rule, with
arbitration of their differences, by a tacit consent devolved into his
hands, without any other caution, but the assurance they had of his
uprightness and wisdom; yet when time, giving authority, and (as some men
would persuade us) sacredness of customs, which the negligent, and
unforeseeing innocence of the first ages began, had brought in successors of
another stamp, the people finding their properties not secure under the
government, as then it was, (whereas government has no other end but the
preservation of * property) could never be safe nor at rest, nor think
themselves in civil society, till the legislature was placed in collective
bodies of men, call them senate, parliament, or what you please. By which
means every single person became subject, equally with other the meanest
men, to those laws, which he himself, as part of the legislative, had
established; nor could any one, by his own authority; avoid the force of the
law, when once made; nor by any pretence of superiority plead exemption,
thereby to license his own, or the miscarriages of any of his dependents.**
No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man
may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or
security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly
still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil
society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are
one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a
patron of anarchy as to affirm.

(* At the first, when some certain kind of regiment was once appointed, it
may be that nothing was then farther thought upon for the manner of
goveming, but all permitted unto their wisdom and discretion, which were to
rule, till by experience they found this for all parts very inconvenient, so
as the thing which they had devised for a remedy, did indeed but increase
the sore, which it should have cured. They saw, that to live by one man’s
will, became the cause of all men’s misery. This constrained them to come
unto laws, wherein all men might see their duty beforehand, and know the
penalties of transgressing them. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. l. i. sect. 10.)

(** Civil law being the act of the whole body politic, doth therefore
over-
rule each several part of the same body. Hooker, ibid.)

CHAP. VIII. Of the Beginning of Political Societies.

Sec. 95. MEN being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and
independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the
political power of another, without his own consent. The only way whereby
any one divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of
civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a
community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst
another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security
against any, that are not of it. This any number of men may do, because it
injures not the freedom of the rest; they are left as they were in the
liberty of the state of nature. When any number of men have so consented to
make one community or government, they are thereby presently incorporated,
and make one body politic, wherein the majority have a right to act and
conclude the rest.

Sec. 96. For when any number of men have, by the consent of every
individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one
body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and
determination of the majority: for that which acts any community, being only
the consent of the individuals of it, and it being necessary to that which
is one body to move one way; it is necessary the body should move that way
whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority:
or else it is impossible it should act or continue one body, one community,
which the consent of every individual that united into it, agreed that it
should; and so every one is bound by that consent to be concluded by the
majority. And therefore we see, that in assemblies, impowered to act by
positive laws, where no number is set by that positive law which impowers
them, the act of the majority passes for the act of the whole, and of course
determines, as having, by the law of nature and reason, the power of the
whole.

Sec. 97. And thus every man, by consenting with others to make one body
politic under one government, puts himself under an obligation, to every one
of that society, to submit to the determination of the majority, and to be
concluded by it; or else this original compact, whereby he with others
incorporates into one society, would signify nothing, and be no compact, if
he be left free, and under no other ties than he was in before in the state
of nature. For what appearance would there be of any compact? what new
engagement if he were no farther tied by any decrees of the society, than he
himself thought fit, and did actually consent to? This would be still as
great a liberty, as he himself had before his compact, or any one else in
the state of nature hath, who may submit himself, and consent to any acts of
it if he thinks fit.

Sec. 98. For if the consent of the majority shall not, in reason, be
received as the act of the whole, and conclude every individual; nothing but
the consent of every individual can make any thing to be the act of the
whole: but such a consent is next to impossible ever to be had, if we
consider the infirmities of health, and avocations of business, which in a
number, though much less than that of a common-wealth, will necessarily keep
many away from the public assembly. To which if we add the variety of
opinions, and contrariety of interests, which unavoidably happen in all
collections of men, the coming into society upon such terms would be only
like Cato’s coming into the theatre, only to go out again. Such a
constitution as this would make the mighty Leviathan of a shorter duration,
than the feeblest creatures, and not let it outlast the day it was bom in:
which cannot be supposed, till we can think, that rational creatures should
desire and constitute societies only to be dissolved: for where the majority
cannot conclude the rest, there they cannot act as one body, and
consequently will be immediately dissolved again.

Sec. 99. Whosoever therefore out of a state of nature unite into a
community, must be understood to give up all the power, necessary to the
ends for which they unite into society, to the majority of the community,
unless they expresly agreed in any number greater than the majority. And
this is done by barely agreeing to unite into one political society, which
is all the compact that is, or needs be, between the individuals, that enter
into, or make up a commonwealth. And thus that, which begins and actually
constitutes any political society, is nothing but the consent of any number
of freemen capable of a majority to unite and incorporate into such a
society. And this is that, and that only, which did, or could give beginning
to any lawful government in the world.

Sec. 100. To this I find two objections made.

First, That there are no instances to be found in story, of a company of men
independent, and equal one amongst another, that met together, and in this
way began and set up a government.

Secondly, It is impossible of right, that men should do so, because all men
being born under government, they are to submit to that, and are not at
liberty to begin a new one.

Sec. 101. To the first there is this to answer, That it is not at all to be
wondered, that history gives us but a very little account of men, that lived
together in the state of nature. The inconveniences of that condition, and
the love and want of society, no sooner brought any number of them together,
but they presently united and incorporated, if they designed to continue
together. And if we may not suppose men ever to have been in the state of
nature, because we hear not much of them in such a state, we may as well
suppose the armies of Salmanasser or Xerxes were never children, because we
hear little of them, till they were men, and imbodied in armies. Government
is every where antecedent to records, and letters seldom come in amongst a
people till a long continuation of civil society has, by other more
necessary arts, provided for their safety, ease, and plenty: and then they
begin to look after the history of their founders, and search into their
original, when they have outlived the memory of it: for it is with
commonwealths as with particular persons, they are commonly ignorant of
their own births and infancies: and if they know any thing of their
original, they are beholden for it, to the accidental records that others
have kept of it. And those that we have, of the beginning of any polities in
the world, excepting that of the Jews, where God himself immediately
interposed, and which favours not at all paternal dominion, are all either
plain instances of such a beginning as I have mentioned, or at least have
manifest footsteps of it.

Sec. 102. He must shew a strange inclination to deny evident matter of fact,
when it agrees not with his hypothesis, who will not allow, that shew a
strange inclination to deny evident matter of fact, when it agrees not with
his hypothesis, who will not allow, that the beginning of Rome and Venice
were by the uniting together of several men free and independent one of
another, amongst whom there was no natural superiority or subjection. And if
Josephus Acosta’s word may be taken, he tells us, that in many parts of
America there was no government at all. There are great and apparent
conjectures, says he, that these men, speaking of those of Peru, for a long
time had neither kings nor commonwealths, but lived in troops, as they do
this day in Florida, the Cheriquanas, those of Brazil, and many other
nations, which have no certain kings, but as occasion is offered, in peace
or war, they choose their captains as they please, 1. i. c. 25. If it be
said, that every man there was born subject to his father, or the head of
his family; that the subjection due from a child to a father took not away
his freedom of uniting into what political society he thought fit, has been
already proved. But be that as it will, these men, it is evident, were
actually free; and whatever superiority some politicians now would place in
any of them, they themselves claimed it not, but by consent were all equal,
till by the same consent they set rulers over themselves. So that their
politic societies all began from a voluntary union, and the mutual agreement
of men freely acting in the choice of their governors, and forms of
government.

Sec. 103. And I hope those who went away from Sparta with Palantus,
mentioned by Justin, 1. iii. c. 4. will be allowed to have been freemen
independent one of another, and to have set up a government over themselves,
by their own consent. Thus I have given several examples, out of history, of
people free and in the state of nature, that being met together incorporated
and began a commonwealth. And if the want of such instances be an argument
to prove that government were not, nor could not be so begun, I suppose the
contenders for paternal empire were better let it alone, than urge it
against natural liberty: for if they can give so many instances, out of
history, of governments begun upon paternal right, I think (though at best
an argument from what has been, to what should of right be, has no great
force) one might, without any great danger, yield them the cause. But if I
might advise them in the case, they would do well not to search too much
into the original of governments, as they have begun de facto, lest they
should find, at the foundation of most of them, something very little
favourable to the design they promote, and such a power as they contend for.

Sec. 104. But to conclude, reason being plain on our side, that men are
naturally free, and the examples of history shewing, that the governments of
the world, that were begun in peace, had their beginning laid on that
foundation, and were made by the consent of the people; there can be little
room for doubt, either where the right is, or what has been the opinion, or
practice of mankind, about the first erecting of governments.

Sec. 105. I will not deny, that if we look back as far as history will
direct us, towards the original of commonwealths, we shall generally find
them under the government and administration of one man. And I am also apt
to believe, that where a family was numerous enough to subsist by itself,
and continued entire together, without mixing with others, as it often
happens, where there is much land, and few people, the government commonly
began in the father: for the father having, by the law of nature, the same
power with every man else to punish, as he thought fit, any offences against
that law, might thereby punish his transgressing children, even when they
were men, and out of their pupilage; and they were very likely to submit to
his punishment, and all join with him against the offender, in their turns,
giving him thereby power to execute his sentence against any transgression,
and so in effect make him the law-maker, and governor over all that remained
in conjunction with his family. He was fittest to be trusted; paternal
affection secured their property and interest under his care; and the custom
of obeying him, in their childhood, made it easier to submit to him, rather
than to any other. If therefore they must have one to rule them, as
government is hardly to be avoided amongst men that live together; who so
likely to be the man as he that was their common father; unless negligence,
cruelty, or any other defect of mind or body made him unfit for it? But when
either the father died, and left his next heir, for want of age, wisdom,
courage, or any other qualities, less fit for rule; or where several
families met, and consented to continue together; there, it is not to be
doubted, but they used their natural freedom, to set up him, whom they
judged the ablest, and most likely, to rule well over them. Conformable
hereunto we find the people of America, who (living out of the reach of the
conquering swords, and spreading domination of the two great empires of Peru
and Mexico) enjoyed their own natural freedom, though, caeteris paribus,
they commonly prefer the heir of their deceased king; yet if they find him
any way weak, or uncapable, they pass him by, and set up the stoutest and
bravest man for their ruler.

Sec. 106. Thus, though looking back as far as records give us any account of
peopling the world, and the history of nations, we commonly find the
government to be in one hand; yet it destroys not that which I affirm, viz.
that the beginning of politic society depends upon the consent of the
individuals, to join into, and make one society; who, when they are thus
incorporated, might set up what form of government they thought fit. But
this having given occasion to men to mistake, and think, that by nature
government was monarchical, and belonged to the father, it may not be amiss
here to consider, why people in the beginning generally pitched upon this
form, which though perhaps the father’s pre-eminency might, in the first
institution of some commonwealths, give a rise to, and place in the
beginning, the power in one hand; yet it is plain that the reason, that
continued the form of government in a single person, was not any regard, or
respect to paternal authority; since all petty monarchies, that is, almost
all monarchies, near their original, have been commonly, at least upon
occasion, elective.

Sec. 107. First then, in the beginning of things, the father’s government of
the childhood of those sprung from him, having accustomed them to the rule
of one man, and taught them that where it was exercised with care and skill,
with affection and love to those under it, it was sufficient to procure and
preserve to men all the political happiness they sought for in society. It
was no wonder that they should pitch upon, and naturally run into that form
of government, which from their infancy they had been all accustomed to; and
which, by experience, they had found both easy and safe. To which, if we
add, that monarchy being simple, and most obvious to men, whom neither
experience had instructed in forms of government, nor the ambition or
insolence of empire had taught to beware of the encroachments of
prerogative, or the inconveniences of absolute power, which monarchy in
succession was apt to lay claim to, and bring upon them, it was not at all
strange, that they should not much trouble themselves to think of methods of
restraining any exorbitances of those to whom they had given the authority
over them, and of balancing the power of government, by placing several
parts of it in different hands. They had neither felt the oppression of
tyrannical dominion, nor did the fashion of the age, nor their possessions,
or way of living, (which afforded little matter for covetousness or
ambition) give them any reason to apprehend or provide against it; and
therefore it is no wonder they put themselves into such a frame of
government, as was not only, as I said, most obvious and simple, but also
best suited to their present state and condition; which stood more in need
of defence against foreign invasions and injuries, than of multiplicity of
laws. The equality of a simple poor way of living, confining their desires
within the narrow bounds of each man’s small property, made few
controversies, and so no need of many laws to decide them, or variety of
officers to superintend the process, or look after the execution of justice,
where there were but few trespasses, and few offenders. Since then those,
who like one another so well as to join into society, cannot but be supposed
to have some acquaintance and friendship together, and some trust one in
another; they could not but have greater apprehensions of others, than of
one another: and therefore their first care and thought cannot but be
supposed to be, how to secure themselves against foreign force. It was
natural for them to put themselves under a frame of government which might
best serve to that end, and chuse the wisest and bravest man to conduct them
in their wars, and lead them out against their enemies, and in this chiefly
be their ruler.

Sec. 108. Thus we see, that the kings of the Indians in America, which is
still a pattern of the first ages in Asia and Europe, whilst the inhabitants
were too few for the country, and want of people and money gave men no
temptation to enlarge their possessions of land, or contest for wider extent
of ground, are little more than generals of their armies; and though they
command absolutely in war, yet at home and in time of peace they exercise
very little dominion, and have but a very moderate sovereignty, the
resolutions of peace and war being ordinarily either in the people, or in a
council. Tho’ the war itself, which admits not of plurality of governors,
naturally devolves the command into the king’s sole authority.

Sec. 109. And thus in Israel itself, the chief business of their judges, and
first kings, seems to have been to be captains in war, and leaders of their
armies; which (besides what is signified by going out and in before the
people, which was, to march forth to war, and home again in the heads of
their forces) appears plainly in the story of lephtha. The Ammonites making
war upon Israel, the Gileadites in fear send to lephtha, a bastard of their
family whom they had cast off, and article with him, if he will assist them
against the Ammonites, to make him their ruler; which they do in these
words, And the people made him head and captain over them, Judg. xi, ii.
which was, as it seems, all one as to be judge. And he judged Israel, judg.
xii. 7. that is, was their captain-general six years. So when lotham
upbraids the Shechemites with the obligation they had to Gideon, who had
been their judge and ruler, he tells them, He fought for you, and adventured
his life far, and delivered you out of the hands of Midian, Judg. ix. 17.
Nothing mentioned of him but what he did as a general: and indeed that is
all is found in his history, or in any of the rest of the judges. And
Abimelech particularly is called king, though at most he was but their
general. And when, being weary of the ill conduct of Samuel’s sons, the
children of Israel desired a king, like all the nations to judge them, and
to go out before them, and to fight their battles, I. Sam viii. 20. God
granting their desire, says to Samuel, I will send thee a man, and thou
shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my
people out of the hands of the Philistines, ix. 16. As if the only business
of a king had been to lead out their armies, and fight in their defence; and
accordingly at his inauguration pouring a vial of oil upon him, declares to
Saul, that the Lord had anointed him to be captain over his inheritance, x.
1. And therefore those, who after Saul’s being solemnly chosen and saluted
king by the tribes at Mispah, were unwilling to have him their king, made no
other objection but this, How shall this man save us? v. 27. as if they
should have said, this man is unfit to be our king, not having skill and
conduct enough in war, to be able to defend us. And when God resolved to
transfer the government to David, it is in these words, But now thy kingdom
shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and
the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, xiii. 14. As if
the whole kingly authority were nothing else but to be their general: and
therefore the tribes who had stuck to Saul’s family, and opposed David’s
reign, when they came to Hebron with terms of submission to him, they tell
him, amongst other arguments they had to submit to him as to their king,
that he was in effect their king in Saul’s time, and therefore they had no
reason but to receive him as their king now. Also (say they) in time past,
when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that reddest out and broughtest in
Israel, and the Lord said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and
thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

Sec. 110. Thus, whether a family by degrees grew up into a common-wealth,
and the fatherly authority being continued on to the elder son, every one in
his turn growing up under it, tacitly submitted to it, and the easiness and
equality of it not offending any one, every one acquiesced, till time seemed
to have confirmed it, and settled a right of succession by prescription: or
whether several families, or the descendants of several families, whom
chance, neighbourhood, or business brought together, uniting into society,
the need of a general, whose conduct might defend them against their enemies
in war, and the great confidence the innocence and sincerity of that poor
but virtuous age, (such as are almost all those which begin governments,
that ever come to last in the world) gave men one of another, made the first
beginners of commonwealths generally put the rule into one man’s hand,
without any other express limitation or restraint, but what the nature of
the thing, and the end of government required: which ever of those it was
that at first put the rule into the hands of a single person, certain it is
no body was intrusted with it but for the public good and safety, and to
those ends, in the infancies of commonwealths, those who had it commonly
used it. And unless they had done so, young societies could not have
subsisted; without such nursing fathers tender and careful of the public
weal, all governments would have sunk under the weakness and infirmities of
their infancy, and the prince and the people had soon perished together.

Sec. 111. But though the golden age (before vain ambition, and amor
sceleratus habendi, evil concupiscence, had corrupted men’s minds into a
mistake of true power and honour) had more virtue, and consequently better
governors, as well as less vicious subjects, and there was then no
stretching prerogative on the one side, to oppress the people; nor
consequently on the other, any dispute about privilege, to lessen or
restrain the power of the magistrate, and so no contest betwixt rulers and
people about governors or goveernment: yet, when ambition and luxury in
future ages* would retain and increase the power, without doing the business
for which it was given; and aided by flattery, taught princes to have
distinct and separate interests from their people, men found it necessary to
examine more carefully the original and rights of government; and to find
out ways to restrain the exorbitances, and prevent the abuses of that power,
which they having intrusted in another’s hands only for their own good, they
found was made use of to hurt them.

(* At first, when some certain kind of regiment was once approved, it may be
nothing was then farther thought upon for the manner of governing, but all
permitted unto their wisdom and discretion which were to rule, till by
experience they found this for all parts very inconvenient, so as the thing
which they had devised for a remedy, did indeed but increase the sore which
it should have cured. They saw, that to live by one man’s will, became the
cause of all men’s misery. This constrained them to come unto laws wherein
all men might see their duty before hand, and know the penalties of
transgressing them. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. l. i. sect. 10.)

Sec. 112. Thus we may see how probable it is, that people that were
naturally free, and by their own consent either submitted to the government
of their father, or united together out of different families to make a
government, should generally put the rule into one man’s hands, and chuse to
be under the conduct of a single person, without so much as by express
conditions limiting or regulating his power, which they thought safe enough
in his honesty and prudence; though they never dreamed of monarchy being
lure Divino, which we never heard of among mankind, till it was revealed to
us by the divinity of this last age; nor ever allowed paternal power to have
a right to dominion, or to be the foundation of all government. And thus
much may suffice to shew, that as far as we have any light from history, we
have reason to conclude, that all peaceful beginnings of government have
been laid in the consent of the people. I say peaceful, because I shall have
occasion in another place to speak of conquest, which some esteem a way of
beginning of governments.

The other objection I find urged against the beginning of polities, in the
way I have mentioned, is this, viz.

Sec. 113. That all men being born under government, some or other, it is
impossible any of them should ever be free, and at liberty to unite
together, and begin a new one, or ever be able to erect a lawful government.

If this argument be good; I ask, how came so many lawful monarchies into the
world? for if any body, upon this supposition, can shew me any one man in
any age of the world free to begin a lawful monarchy, I will be bound to
shew him ten other free men at liberty, at the same time to unite and begin
a new government under a regal, or any other form; it being demonstration,
that if any one, born under the dominion of another, may be so free as to
have a right to command others in a new and distinct empire, every one that
is born under the dominion of another may be so free too, and may become a
ruler, or subject, of a distinct separate government. And so by this their
own principle, either all men, however born, are free, or else there is but
one lawful prince, one lawful government in the world. And then they have
nothing to do, but barely to shew us which that is; which when they have
done, I doubt not but all mankind will easily agree to pay obedience to him.

Sec. 114. Though it be a sufficient answer to their objection, to shew that
it involves them in the same difficulties that it doth those they use it
against; yet I shall endeavour to discover the weakness of this argument a
little farther. All men, say they, are born under government, and therefore
they cannot be at liberty to begin a new one. Every one is born a subject to
his father, or his prince, and is therefore under the perpetual tie of
subjection and allegiance. It is plain mankind never owned nor considered
any such natural subjection that they were born in, to one or to the other
that tied them, without their own consents, to a subjection to them and
their heirs.

Sec. 115. For there are no examples so frequent in history, both sacred and
profane, as those of men withdrawing themselves, and their obedience, from
the jurisdiction they were born under, and the family or community they were
bred up in, and setting up new governments in other places; from whence
sprang all that number of petty commonwealths in the beginning of ages, and
which always multiplied, as long as there was room enough, till the
stronger, or more fortunate, swallowed the weaker; and those great ones
again breaking to pieces, dissolved into lesser dominions. All which are so
many testimonies against paternal sovereignty, and plainly prove, that it
was not the natural right of the father descending to his heirs, that made
governments in the beginning, since it was impossible, upon that ground,
there should have been so many little kingdoms; all must have been but only
one universal monarchy, if men had not been at liberty to separate
themselves from their families, and the government, be it what it will, that
was set up in it, and go and make distinct commonwealths and other
governments, as they thought fit.

Sec. 116. This has been the practice of the world from its first beginning
to this day; nor is it now any more hindrance to the freedom of mankind,
that they are born under constituted and ancient polities, that have
established laws, and set forms of government, than if they were born in the
woods, amongst the unconfined inhabitants, that run loose in them: for
those, who would persuade us, that by being born under any government, we
are naturally subjects to it, and have no more any title or pretence to the
freedom of the state of nature, have no other reason (bating that of
paternal power, which we have already answered) to produce for it, but only,
because our fathers or progenitors passed away their natural liberty, and
thereby bound up themselves and their posterity to a perpetual subjection to
the government, which they themselves submitted to. It is true, that
whatever engagements or promises any one has made for himself, he is under
the obligation of them, but cannot, by any compact whatsoever, bind his
children or posterity: for his son, when a man, being altogether as free as
the father, any act of the father can no more give away the liberty of the
son, than it can of any body else: he may indeed annex such conditions to
the land, he enjoyed as a subject of any common-wealth, as may oblige his
son to be of that community, if he will enjoy those possessions which were
his father’s; because that estate being his father’s property, he may
dispose, or settle it, as he pleases.

Sec. 117. And this has generally given the occasion to mistake in this
matter; because commonwealths not permitting any part of their dominions to
be dismembered, nor to be enjoyed by any but those of their community, the
son cannot ordinarily enjoy the possessions of his father, but under the
same terms his father did, by becoming a member of the society; whereby he
puts himself presently under the government he finds there established, as
much as any other subject of that common-wealth. And thus the consent of
freemen, born under government, which only makes them members of it, being
given separately in their turns, as each comes to be of age, and not in a
multitude together; people take no notice of it, and thinking it not done at
all, or not necessary, conclude they are naturally subjects as they are men.

Sec. 118. But, it is plain, governments themselves understand it otherwise;
they claim no power over the son, because of that they had over the father;
nor look on children as being their subjects, by their fathers being so. If
a subject of England have a child, by an English woman in France, whose
subject is he? Not the king of England’s; for he must have leave to be
admitted to the privileges of it: nor the king of France’s; for how then has
his father a liberty to bring him away, and breed him as he pleases? and who
ever was judged as a traytor or deserter, if he left, or warred against a
country, for being barely born in it of parents that were aliens there? It
is plain then, by the practice of governments themselves, as well as by the
law of right reason, that a child is born a subject of no country or
government. He is under his father’s tuition and authority, till he comes to
age of discretion; and then he is a freeman, at liberty what government he
will put himself under, what body politic he will unite himself to: for if
an Englishman’s son, born in France, be at liberty, and may do so, it is
evident there is no tie upon him by his father’s being a subject of this
kingdom; nor is he bound up by any compact of his ancestors. And why then
hath not his son, by the same reason, the same liberty, though he be born
any where else? Since the power that a father hath naturally over his
children, is the same, where-ever they be born, and the ties of natural
obligations, are not bounded by the positive limits of kingdoms and
commonwealths.

Sec. 119. Every man being, as has been shewed, naturally free, and nothing
being able to put him into subjection to any earthly power, but only his own
consent; it is to be considered, what shall be understood to be a sufficient
declaration of a man’s consent, to make him subject to the laws of any
government. There is a common distinction of an express and a tacit consent,
which will concern our present case. No body doubts but an express consent,
of any man entering into any society, makes him a perfect member of that
society, a subject of that government. The difficulty is, what ought to be
looked upon as a tacit consent, and how far it binds, i.e. how far any one
shall be looked on to have consented, and thereby submitted to any
government, where he has made no expressions of it at all. And to this I
say, that every man, that hath any possessions, or enjoyment, of any part of
the dominions of any government, doth thereby give his tacit consent,
and
is as far forth obliged to obedience to the laws of that government,
during
such enjoyment, as any one under it; whether this his possession be of
land,
to him and his heirs for ever, or a lodging only for a week; or whether
it
be barely travelling freely on the highway; and in effect, it reaches as
far
as the very being of any one within the territories of that government.

Sec. 120. To understand this the better, it is fit to consider, that every
man, when he at first incorporates himself into any commonwealth, he, by his
uniting himself thereunto, annexed also, and submits to the community, those
possessions, which he has, or shall acquire, that do not already belong to
any other government: for it would be a direct contradiction, for any one to
enter into society with others for the securing and regulating of property;
and yet to suppose his land, whose property is to be regulated by the laws
of the society, should be exempt from the jurisdiction of that government,
to which he himself, the proprietor of the land, is a subject. By the same
act therefore, whereby any one unites his person, which was before free, to
any common-wealth, by the same he unites his possessions, which were before
free, to it also; and they become, both of them, person and possession,
subject to the government and dominion of that common-wealth, as long as it
hath a being. VVhoever therefore, from thenceforth, by inheritance,
purchase, permission, or otherways, enjoys any part of the land, so annexed
to, and under the government of that common-wealth, must take it with the
condition it is under; that is, of submitting to the government of the
common-wealth, under whose jurisdiction it is, as far forth as any subject
of it.

Sec. 121. But since the government has a direct jurisdiction only over the
land, and reaches the possessor of it, (before he has actually incorporated
himself in the society) only as he dwells upon, and enjoys that; the
obligation any one is under, by virtue of such enjoyment, to submit to the
government, begins and ends with the enjoyment; so that whenever the owner,
who has given nothing but such a tacit consent to the government, will, by
donation, sale, or otherwise, quit the said possession, he is at liberty to
go and incorporate himself into any other common-wealth; or to agree with
others to begin a new one, in vacuis locis, in any part of the world, they
can find free and unpossessed: whereas he, that has once, by actual
agreement, and any express declaration, given his consent to be of any
commonwealth, is perpetually and indispensably obliged to be, and remain
unalterably a subject to it, and can never be again in the liberty of the
state of nature; unless, by any calamity, the government he was under comes
to be dissolved; or else by some public act cuts him off from being any
longer a member of it.

Sec. 122. But submitting to the laws of any country, living quietly, and
enjoying privileges and protection under them, makes not a man a member of
that society: this is only a local protection and homage due to and from all
those, who, not being in a state of war, come within the territories
belonging to any government, to all parts whereof the force of its laws
extends. But this no more makes a man a member of that society, a perpetual
subject of that common-wealth, than it would make a man a subject to
another, in whose family he found it convenient to abide for some time;
though, whilst he continued in it, he were obliged to comply with the laws,
and submit to the government he found there. And thus we see, that
foreigners, by living all their lives under another government, and enjoying
the privileges and protection of it, though they are bound, even in
conscience, to submit to its administration, as far forth as any denison;
yet do not thereby come to be subjects or members of that commonwealth.
Nothing can make any man so, but his actually entering into it by positive
engagement, and express promise and compact. This is that, which I think,
concerning the beginning of political societies, and that consent which
makes any one a member of any common-wealth.

CHAP. IX. Of the Ends of Political Society and Government.

Sec. 123. IF man in the state of nature be so free, as has been said; if he
be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest,
and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom? why will he give
up this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and controul of any
other power? To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of
nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain, and
constantly exposed to the invasion of others: for all being kings as much as
he, every man his equal, and the greater part no strict observers of equity
and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very
unsafe, very unsecure. This makes him willing to quit a condition, which,
however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without
reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others,
who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation
of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name,
property.

Sec. 124. The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into
commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation
of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things
wanting.

First, There wants an established, settled, known law, received and allowed
by common consent to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common
measure to decide all controversies between them: for though the law of
nature be plain and intelligible to all rational creatures; yet men being
biassed by their interest, as well as ignorant for want of study of it, are
not apt to allow of it as a law binding to them in the application of it to
their particular cases.

Sec. 125. Secondly, In the state of nature there wants a known and
indifferent judge, with authority to determine all differences according to
the established law: for every one in that state being both judge and
executioner of the law of nature, men being partial to themselves, passion
and revenge is very apt to carry them too far, and with too much heat, in
their own cases; as well as negligence, and unconcernedness, to make them
too remiss in other men’s.

Sec. 126. Thirdly, In the state of nature there often wants power to back
and support the sentence when right, and to give it due execution, They who
by any injustice offended, will seldom fail, where they are able, by force
to make good their injustice; such resistance many times makes the
punishment dangerous, and frequently destructive, to those who attempt it.

Sec. 127. Thus mankind, notwithstanding all the privileges of the state of
nature, being but in an ill condition, while they remain in it, are quickly
driven into society. Hence it comes to pass, that we seldom find any number
of men live any time together in this state. The inconveniencies that they
are therein exposed to, by the irregular and uncertain exercise of the power
every man has of punishing the transgressions of others, make them take
sanctuary under the established laws of government, and therein seek the
preservation of their property. It is this makes them so willingly give up
every one his single power of punishing, to be exercised by such alone, as
shall be appointed to it amongst them; and by such rules as the community,
or those authorized by them to that purpose, shall agree on. And in this we
have the original right and rise of both the legislative and executive
power, as well as of the governments and societies themselves.

Sec. 128. For in the state of nature, to omit the liberty he has of innocent
delights, a man has two powers.

The first is to do whatsoever he thinks fit for the preservation of himself,
and others within the permission of the law of nature: by which law, common
to them all, he and all the rest of mankind are one community, make up one
society, distinct from all other creatures. And were it not for the
corruption and vitiousness of degenerate men, there would be no need of any
other; no necessity that men should separate from this great and natural
community, and by positive agreements combine into smaller and divided
associations.

The other power a man has in the state of nature, is the power to punish the
crimes committed against that law. Both these he gives up, when he joins in
a private, if I may so call it, or particular politic society, and
incorporates into any common-wealth, separate from the rest of mankind.

Sec. 129. The first power, viz. of doing whatsoever he thought for the
preservation of himself, and the rest of mankind, he gives up to be
regulated by laws made by the society, so far forth as the preservation of
himself, and the rest of that society shall require; which laws of the
society in many things confine the liberty he had by the law of nature.

Sec. 130. Secondly, The power of punishing he wholly gives up, and engages
his natural force, (which he might before employ in the execution of the law
of nature, by his own single authority, as he thought fit) to assist the
executive power of the society, as the law thereof shall require: for being
now in a new state, wherein he is to enjoy many conveniencies, from the
labour, assistance, and society of others in the same community, as well as
protection from its whole strength; he is to part also with as much of his
natural liberty, in providing for himself, as the good, prosperity, and
safety of the society shall require; which is not only necessary, but just,
since the other members of the society do the like.

Sec. 131. But though men, when they enter into society, give up the
equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into
the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative, as
the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention
in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property; (for
no rational creature can be supposed to change his condition with an
intention to be worse) the power of the society, or legislative constituted
by them, can never be supposed to extend farther, than the common good; but
is obliged to secure every one’s property, by providing against those three
defects above mentioned, that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy.
And so whoever has the legislative or supreme power of any common-wealth, is
bound to govern by established standing laws, promulgated and known to the
people, and not by extemporary decrees; by indifferent and upright judges,
who are to decide controversies by those laws; and to employ the force of
the community at home, only in the execution of such laws, or abroad to
prevent or redress foreign injuries, and secure the community from inroads
and invasion. And all this to be directed to no other end, but the peace,
safety, and public good of the people.

CHAP. X. Of the Forms of a Common-wealth.

Sec. 132. THE majority having, as has been shewed, upon men’s first uniting
into society, the whole power of the community naturally in them, may employ
all that power in making laws for the community from time to time, and
executing those laws by officers of their own appointing; and then the form
of the government is a perfect democracy: or else may put the power of
making laws into the hands of a few select men, and their heirs or
successors; and then it is an oligarchy: or else into the hands of one man,
and then it is a monarchy: if to him and his heirs, it is an hereditary
monarchy: if to him only for life, but upon his death the power only of
nominating a successor to return to them; an elective monarchy. And so
accordingly of these the community may make compounded and mixed forms of
government, as they think good. And if the legislative power be at first
given by the majority to one or more persons only for their lives, or any
limited time, and then the supreme power to revert to them again; when it is
so reverted, the community may dispose of it again anew into what hands they
please, and so constitute a new form of government: for the form of
government depending upon the placing the supreme power, which is the
legislative, it being impossible to conceive that an inferior power should
prescribe to a superior, or any but the supreme make laws, according as the
power of making laws is placed, such is the form of the common-wealth.

Sec. 133. By common-wealth, I must be understood all along to mean, not a
democracy, or any form of government, but any independent community, which
the Latines signified by the word civitas, to which the word which best
answers in our language, is common-wealth, and most properly expresses such
a society of men, which community or city in English does not; for there may
be subordinate communities in a government; and city amongst us has a quite
different notion from common-wealth: and therefore, to avoid ambiguity, I
crave leave to use the word common-wealth in that sense, in which I find it
used by king James the first; and I take it to be its genuine signification;
which if any body dislike, I consent with him to change it for a better.

CHAP. XI. Of the Extent of the Legislative Power.

Sec. 134. THE great end of men’s entering into society, being the enjoyment
of their properties in peace and safety, and the great instrument and means
of that being the laws established in that society; the first and
fundamental positive law of all commonwealths is the establishing of the
legislative power; as the first and fundamental natural law, which is to
govern even the legislative itself, is the preservation of the society, and
(as far as will consist with the public good) of every person in it. This
legislative is not only the supreme power of the common-wealth, but sacred
and unalterable in the hands where the community have once placed it; nor
can any edict of any body else, in what form soever conceived, or by what
power soever backed, have the force and obligation of a law, which has not
its sanction from that legislative which the public has chosen and
appointed: for without this the law could not have that, which is absolutely
necessary to its being a law,* the consent of the society, over whom no body
can have a power to make laws, but by their own consent, and by authority
received from them; and therefore all the obedience, which by the most
solemn ties any one can be obliged to pay, ultimately terminates in this
supreme power, and is directed by those laws which it enacts: nor can any
oaths to any foreign power whatsoever, or any domestic subordinate power,
discharge any member of the society from his obedience to the legislative,
acting pursuant to their trust; nor oblige him to any obedience contrary to
the laws so enacted, or farther than they do allow; it being ridiculous to
imagine one can be tied ultimately to obey any power in the society, which
is not the supreme.

(* The lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of
men, belonging so properly unto the same intire societies, that for any
prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of
himself, and not by express commission immediately and personally received
from God, or else by authority derived at the first from their consent, upon
whose persons they impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they
are not therefore which public approbation hath not made so. Hooker’s Eccl.
Pol. l. i. sect. 10. Of this point therefore we are to note, that sith men
naturally have no full and perfect power to command whole politic multitudes
of men, therefore utterly without our consent, we could in such sort be at
no man’s commandment living. And to be commanded we do consent, when that
society, whereof we be a part, hath at any time before consented, without
revoking the same after by the like universal agreement.

Laws therefore human, of what kind so ever, are available by consent. Ibid.)

Sec. 135. Though the legislative, whether placed in one or more, whether it
be always in being, or only by intervals, though it be the supreme power in
every common-wealth; yet,

First, It is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives
and fortunes of the people: for it being but the joint power of every member
of the society given up to that person, or assembly, which is legislator; it
can be no more than those persons had in a state of nature before they
entered into society, and gave up to the community: for no body can transfer
to another more power than he has in himself; and no body has an absolute
arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or
take away the life or property of another. A man, as has been proved, cannot
subject himself to the arbitrary power of another; and having in the state
of nature no arbitrary power over the life, liberty, or possession of
another, but only so much as the law of nature gave him for the preservation
of himself, and the rest of mankind; this is all he doth, or can give up
to
the common-wealth, and by it to the legislative power, so that the
legislative can have no more than this. Their power, in the utmost bounds of
it, is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power, that hath
no other end but preservation, and therefore can never* have a right to
destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects. The obligations
of the law of nature cease not in society, but only in many cases are drawn
closer, and have by human laws known penalties annexed to them, to inforce
their observation. Thus the law of nature stands as an eternal rule to all
men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men’s
actions, must, as well as their own and other men’s actions, be conformable
to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a
declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of
mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it.

(* Two foundations there are which bear up public societies; the one a
natural inclination, whereby all men desire sociable life and fellowship;
the other an order, expresly or secretly agreed upon, touching the manner of
their union in living together: the latter is that which we call the law of
a commonweal, the very soul of a politic body, the parts whereof are by law
animated, held together, and set on work in such actions as the common good
requireth. Laws politic, ordained for external order and regiment amongst
men, are never framed as they should be, unless presuming the will of man to
be inwardly obstinate, rebellious, and averse from all obedience to the
sacred laws of his nature; in a word, unless presuming man to be, in regard
of his depraved mind, little better than a wild beast, they do accordingly
provide, notwithstanding, so to frame his outward actions, that they be no
hindrance unto the common good, for which societies are instituted. Unless
they do this, they are not perfect. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. l. i. sect. 10.)

Sec. 136. Secondly,* The legislative, or supreme authority, cannot assume to
its self a power to rule by extemporary arbitrary decrees, but is bound to
dispense justice, and decide the rights of the subject by promulgated
standing laws, and known authorized judges: for the law of nature being
unwritten, and so no where to be found but in the minds of men, they who
through passion or interest shall miscite, or misapply it, cannot so easily
be convinced of their mistake where there is no established judge: and so it
serves not, as it ought, to determine the rights, and fence the properties
of those that live under it, especially where every one is judge,
interpreter, and executioner of it too, and that in his own case: and he
that has right on his side, having ordinarily but his own single strength,
hath not force enough to defend himself from injuries, or to punish
delinquents. To avoid these inconveniences, which disorder men’s propperties
in the state of nature, men unite into societies, that they may have the
united strength of the whole society to secure and defend their properties,
and may have standing rules to bound it, by which every one may know what is
his. To this end it is that men give up all their natural power to the
society which they enter into, and the community put the legislative power
into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be
governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will
still be at the same uncertainty, as it was in the state of nature.

(* Human laws are measures in respect of men whose actions they must direct,
howbeit such measures they are as have also their higher rules to be
measured by, which rules are two, the law of God, and the law of nature; so
that laws human must be made according to the general laws of nature, and
without contradiction to any positive law of scripture, otherwise they are
ill made. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. l. iii. sect. 9.

To constrain men to any thing inconvenient doth seem unreasonable. Ibid.
l.
i. sect. 10.)

Sec. 137. Absolute arbitrary power, or governing without settled standing
laws, can neither of them consist with the ends of society and government,
which men would not quit the freedom of the state of nature for, and tie
themselves up under, were it not to preserve their lives, liberties and
fortunes, and by stated rules of right and property to secure their peace
and quiet. It cannot be supposed that they should intend, had they a power
so to do, to give to any one, or more, an absolute arbitrary power over
their persons and estates, and put a force into the magistrate’s hand to
execute his unlimited will arbitrarily upon them. This were to put
themselves into a worse condition than the state of nature, wherein they had
a liberty to defend their right against the injuries of others, and were
upon equal terms of force to maintain it, whether invaded by a single man,
or many in combination. Whereas by supposing they have given up themselves
to the absolute arbitrary power and will of a legislator, they have disarmed
themselves, and armed him, to make a prey of them when he pleases; he being
in a much worse condition, who is exposed to the arbitrary power of one man,
who has the command of 100,000, than he that is exposed to the arbitrary
power of 100,000 single men; no body being secure, that his will, who has
such a command, is better than that of other men, though his force be
100,000 times stronger. And therefore, whatever form the common-wealth is
under, the ruling power ought to govern by declared and received laws, and
not by extemporary dictates and undetermined resolutions: for then mankind
will be in a far worse condition than in the state of nature, if they shall
have armed one, or a few men with the joint power of a multitude, to force
them to obey at pleasure the exorbitant and unlimited decrees of their
sudden thoughts, or unrestrained, and till that moment unknown wills,
without having any measures set down which may guide and justify their
actions: for all the power the government has, being only for the good of
the society, as it ought not to be arbitrary and at pleasure, so it ought to
be exercised by established and promulgated laws; that both the people may
know their duty, and be safe and secure within the limits of the law; and
the rulers too kept within their bounds, and not be tempted, by the power
they have in their hands, to employ it to such purposes, and by such
measures, as they would not have known, and own not willingly.

Sec. 138. Thirdly, The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of
his property without his own consent: for the preservation of property being
the end of government, and that for which men enter into society, it
necessarily supposes and requires, that the people should have property,
without which they must be supposed to lose that, by entering into society,
which was the end for which they entered into it; too gross an absurdity for
any man to own. Men therefore in society having property, they have such a
right to the goods, which by the law of the community are their’s, that no
body hath a right to take their substance or any part of it from them,
without their own consent: without this they have no property at all; for I
have truly no property in that, which another can by right take from me,
when he pleases, against my consent. Hence it is a mistake to think, that
the supreme or legislative power of any commonwealth, can do what it will,
and dispose of the estates of the subject arbitrarily, or take any part of
them at pleasure. This is not much to be feared in governments where the
legislative consists, wholly or in part, in assemblies which are variable,
whose members, upon the dissolution of the assembly, are subjects under the
common laws of their country, equally with the rest. But in governments,
where the legislative is in one lasting assembly always in being, or in one
man, as in absolute monarchies, there is danger still, that they will think
themselves to have a distinct interest from the rest of the community; and
so will be apt to increase their own riches and power, by taking what they
think fit from the people: for a man’s property is not at all secure, tho’
there be good and equitable laws to set the bounds of it between him and his
fellow subjects, if he who commands those subjects have power to take from
any private man, what part he pleases of his property, and use and dispose
of it as he thinks good.

Sec. 139. But government, into whatsoever hands it is put, being, as I have
before shewed, intrusted with this condition, and for this end, that men
might have and secure their properties; the prince, or senate, however it
may have power to make laws, for the regulating of property between the
subjects one amongst another, yet can never have a power to take to
themselves the whole, or any part of the subjects property, without their
own consent: for this would be in effect to leave them no property at all.
And to let us see, that even absolute power, where it is necessary, is not
arbitrary by being absolute, but is still limited by that reason, and
confined to those ends, which required it in some cases to be absolute, we
need look no farther than the common practice of martial discipline: for the
preservation of the army, and in it of the whole common-wealth, requires an
absolute obedience to the command of every superior officer, and it is
justly death to disobey or dispute the most dangerous or unreasonable of
them; but yet we see, that neither the serjeant, that could command a
soldier to march up to the mouth of a cannon, or stand in a breach, where he
is almost sure to perish, can command that soldier to give him one penny of
his money; nor the general, that can condemn him to death for deserting his
post, or for not obeying the most desperate orders, can yet, with all his
absolute power of life and death, dispose of one farthing of that soldier’s
estate, or seize one jot of his goods; whom yet he can command any thing,
and hang for the least disobedience; because such a blind obedience is
necessary to that end, for which the commander has his power, viz. the
preservation of the rest; but the disposing of his goods has nothing to do
with it.

Sec. 140. It is true, governments cannot be supported without great charge,
and it is fit every one who enjoys his share of the protection, should pay
out of his estate his proportion for the maintenance of it. But still it
must be with his own consent, i.e. the consent of the majority, giving it
either by themselves, or their representatives chosen by them: for if any
one shall claim a power to lay and levy taxes on the people, by his own
authority, and without such consent of the people, he thereby invades the
fundamental law of property, and subverts the end of government: for what
property have I in that, which another may by right take, when he pleases,
to himself?

Sec. 141. Fourthly, The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws
to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they
who have it cannot pass it over to others. The people alone can appoint the
form of the common-wealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and
appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We
will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such
forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the
people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have
chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative,
being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution,
can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to
make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to
transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

Sec. 142. These are the bounds which the trust, that is put in them by the
society, and the law of God and nature, have set to the legislative power of
every common-wealth, in all forms of government.

First, They are to govern by promulgated established laws, not to be varied
in particular cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, for the
favourite at court, and the country man at plough.

Secondly, These laws also ought to be designed for no other end ultimately,
but the good of the people.

Thirdly, They must not raise taxes on the property of the people, without
the consent of the people, given by themselves, or their deputies. And this
properly concerns only such governments where the legislative is always in
being, or at least where the people have not reserved any part of the
legislative to deputies, to be from time to time chosen by themselves.

Fourthly, The legislative neither must nor can transfer the power of making
laws to any body else, or place it any where, but where the people have.

CHAP. XVIII. Of Tyranny.

Sec. 199. AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right
to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have
a right to. And this is making use of the power any one has in his hands,
not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private separate
advantage. When the governor, however intitled, makes not the law, but his
will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the
preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his
own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.

Sec. 200. If one can doubt this to be truth, or reason, because it comes
from the obscure hand of a subject, I hope the authority of a king will make
it pass with him. King James the first, in his speech to the parliament,
1603, tells them thus, I will ever prefer the weal of the public, and of the
whole commonwealth, in making of good laws and constitutions, to any
particular and private ends of mine; thinking ever the wealth and weal of
the commonwealth to be my greatest weal and worldly felicity; a point
wherein a lawful king doth directly differ from a tyrant: for I do
acknowledge, that the special and greatest point of difference that is
between a rightful king and an usurping tyrant, is this, that whereas the
proud and ambitious tyrant doth think his kingdom and people are only
ordained for satisfaction of his desires and unreasonable appetites, the
righteous and just king doth by the contrary acknowledge himself to be
ordained for the procuring of the wealth and property of his people, And
again, in his speech to the parliament, 1609, he hath these words, The king
binds himself by a double oath, to the observation of the fundamental laws
of his kingdom; tacitly, as by being a king, and so bound to protect as well
the people, as the laws of his kingdom; and expressly, by his oath at his
coronation, so as every just king, in a settled kingdom, is bound to observe
that paction made to his people, by his laws, in framing his government
agreeable thereunto, according to that paction which God made with Noah
after the deluge. Hereafter, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and
summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease while the earth
remaineth. And therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom, leaves to be
a king, and degenerates into a tyrant, as soon as he leaves off to rule
according to his laws, And a little after, Therefore all kings that are not
tyrants, or perjured, will be glad to bound themselves within the limits of
their laws; and they that persuade them the contrary, are vipers, and pests
both against them and the commonwealth. Thus that learned king, who well
understood the notion of things, makes the difference betwixt a king and a
tyrant to consist only in this, that one makes the laws the bounds of his
power, and the good of the public, the end of his government; the other
makes all give way to his own will and appetite.

Sec. 201. It is a mistake, to think this fault is proper only to monarchies;
other forms of government are liable to it, as well as that: for wherever
the power, that is put in any hands for the government of the people, and
the preservation of their properties, is applied to other ends, and made use
of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the arbitrary and irregular
commands of those that have it; there it presently becomes tyranny, whether
those that thus use it are one or many. Thus we read of the thirty tyrants
at Athens, as well as one at Syracuse; and the intolerable dominion of the
Decemviri at Rome was nothing better.

Sec. 202. Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to
another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by
the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass
that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a
magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man,
who by force invades the right of another. This is acknowledged in
subordinate magistrates. He that hath authority to seize my person in the
street, may be opposed as a thief and a robber, if he endeavours to break
into my house to execute a writ, notwithstanding that I know he has such a
warrant, and such a legal authority, as will impower him to arrest me
abroad. And why this should not hold in the highest, as well as in the most
inferior magistrate, I would gladly be informed. Is it reasonable, that the
eldest brother, because he has the greatest part of his father’s estate,
should thereby have a right to take away any of his younger brothers
portions? or that a rich man, who possessed a whole country, should from
thence have a right to seize, when he pleased, the cottage and garden of his
poor neighbour? The being rightfully possessed of great power and riches,
exceedingly beyond the greatest part of the sons of Adam, is so far from
being an excuse, much less a reason, for rapine and oppression, which the
endamaging another without authority is, that it is a great aggravation of
it: for the exceeding the bounds of authority is no more a right in a great,
than in a petty officer; no more justifiable in a king than a constable; but
is so much the worse in him, in that he has more trust put in him, has
already a much greater share than the rest of his brethren, and is supposed,
from the advantages of his education, employment, and counsellors, to be
more knowing in the measures of right and wrong.

Sec. 203. May the commands then of a prince be opposed? may he be resisted
as often as any one shall find himself aggrieved, and but imagine he has not
right done him? This will unhinge and overturn all polities, and, instead of
government and order, leave nothing but anarchy and confusion.

Sec. 204. To this I answer, that force is to be opposed to nothing, but to
unjust and unlawful force; whoever makes any opposition in any other case,
draws on himself a just condemnation both from God and man; and so no such
danger or confusion will follow, as is often suggested: for,

Sec. 205. First, As, in some countries, the person of the prince by the law
is sacred; and so, whatever he commands or does, his person is still free
from all question or violence, not liable to force, or any judicial censure
or condemnation. But yet opposition may be made to the illegal acts of any
inferior officer, or other commissioned by him; unless he will, by actually
putting himself into a state of war with his people, dissolve the
government, and leave them to that defence which belongs to every one in the
state of nature: for of such things who can tell what the end will be? and a
neighbour kingdom has shewed the world an odd example. In all other cases
the sacredness of the person exempts him from all inconveniencies, whereby
he is secure, whilst the government stands, from all violence and harm
whatsoever; than which there cannot be a wiser constitution: for the harm he
can do in his own person not being likely to happen often, nor to extend
itself far; nor being able by his single strength to subvert the laws, nor
oppress the body of the people, should any prince have so much weakness, and
ill nature as to be willing to do it, the inconveniency of some particular
mischiefs, that may happen sometimes, when a heady prince comes to the
throne, are well recompensed by the peace of the public, and security of the
government, in the person of the chief magistrate, thus set out of the reach
of danger: it being safer for the body, that some few private men should be
sometimes in danger to suffer, than that the head of the republic should be
easily, and upon slight occasions, exposed.

Sec. 206. Secondly, But this privilege, belonging only to the king’s person,
hinders not, but they may be questioned, opposed, and resisted, who use
unjust force, though they pretend a commission from him, which the law
authorizes not; as is plain in the case of him that has the king’s writ to
arrest a man, which is a full commission from the king; and yet he that has
it cannot break open a man’s house to do it, nor execute this command of the
king upon certain days, nor in certain places, though this commission have
no such exception in it; but they are the limitations of the law, which if
any one transgress, the king’s commission excuses him not: for the king’s
authority being given him only by the law, he cannot impower any one to act
against the law, or justify him, by his commission, in so doing; the
commission, or command of any magistrate, where he has no authority, being
as void and insignificant, as that of any private man; the difference
between the one and the other, being that the magistrate has some authority
so far, and to such ends, and the private man has none at all: for it is not
the commission, but the authority, that gives the right of acting; and
against the laws there can be no authority. But, notwithstanding such
resistance, the king’s person and authority are still both secured, and so
no danger to governor or government,

Sec. 207. Thirdly, Supposing a government wherein the person of the chief
magistrate is not thus sacred; yet this doctrine of the lawfulness of
resisting all unlawful exercises of his power, will not upon every slight
occasion indanger him, or imbroil the government: for where the injured
party may be relieved, and his damages repaired by appeal to the law, there
can be no pretence for force, which is only to be used where a man is
intercepted from appealing to the law: for nothing is to be accounted
hostile force, but where it leaves not the remedy of such an appeal; and it
is such force alone, that puts him that uses it into a state of war, and
makes it lawful to resist him. A man with a sword in his hand demands my
purse in the high-way, when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket:
this man I may lawfully kill. To another I deliver lool. to hold only whilst
I alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws
his sword to defend the possession of it by force, if I endeavour to retake
it. The mischief this man does me is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times
more than the other perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he really did
me any); and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt
the other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain; because the one using
force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to appeal to the law
to secure it: and when it was gone, it was too late to appeal. The law could
not restore life to my dead carcass: the loss was irreparable; which to
prevent, the law of nature gave me a right to destroy him, who had put
himself into a state of war with me, and threatened my destruction. But in
the other case, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit of
appealing to the law, and have reparation for my lool. that way.

Sec. 208. Fourthly, But if the unlawful acts done by the magistrate be
maintained (by the power he has got), and the remedy which is due by law, be
by the same power obstructed; yet the right of resisting, even in such
manifest acts of tyranny, will not suddenly, or on slight occasions, disturb
the government: for if it reach no farther than some private men’s cases,
though they have a right to defend themselves, and to recover by force what
by unlawful force is taken from them; yet the right to do so will not easily
engage them in a contest, wherein they are sure to perish; it being as
impossible for one, or a few oppressed men to disturb the government, where
the body of the people do not think themselves concerned in it, as for a
raving mad-man, or heady malcontent to overturn a well settled state; the
people being as little apt to follow the one, as the other.

Sec. 209. But if either these illegal acts have extended to the majority of
the people; or if the mischief and oppression has lighted only on some few,
but in such cases, as the precedent, and consequences seem to threaten all;
and they are persuaded in their consciences, that their laws, and with them
their estates, liberties, and lives are in danger, and perhaps their
religion too; how they will be hindered from resisting illegal force, used
against them, I cannot tell. This is an inconvenience, I confess, that
attends all governments whatsoever, when the governors have brought it to
this pass, to be generally suspected of their people; the most dangerous
state which they can possibly put themselves in. wherein they are the less
to be pitied, because it is so easy to be avoided; it being as impossible
for a governor, if he really means the good of his people, and the
preservation of them, and their laws together, not to make them see and feel
it, as it is for the father of a family, not to let his children see he
loves, and takes care of them.

Sec. 210. But if all the world shall observe pretences of one kind, and
actions of another; arts used to elude the law, and the trust of prerogative
(which is an arbitrary power in some things left in the prince’s hand to do
good, not harm to the people) employed contrary to the end for which it was
given: if the people shall find the ministers and subordinate magistrates
chosen suitable to such ends, and favoured, or laid by, proportionably as
they promote or oppose them: if they see several experiments made of
arbitrary power, and that religion underhand favoured, (tho’ publicly
proclaimed against) which is readiest to introduce it; and the operators in
it supported, as much as may be; and when that cannot be done, yet approved
still, and liked the better: if a long train of actions shew the councils
all tending that way; how can a man any more hinder himself from being
persuaded in his own mind, which way things are going; or from casting about
how to save himself, than he could from believing the captain of the ship he
was in, was carrying him, and the rest of the company, to Algiers, when he
found him always steering that course, though cross winds, leaks in his
ship, and want of men and provisions did often force him to turn his course
another way for some time, which he steadily returned to again, as soon as
the wind, weather, and other circumstances would let him?

CHAP. XIX. Of the Dissolution of Government.

Sec. 211. HE that will with any clearness speak of the dissolution of
government, ought in the first place to distinguish between the dissolution
of the society and the dissolution of the government. That which makes the
community, and brings men out of the loose state of nature, into one politic
society, is the agreement which every one has with the rest to incorporate,
and act as one body, and so be one distinct commonwealth. The usual, and
almost only way whereby this union is dissolved, is the inroad of foreign
force mak ing a conquest upon them: for in that case, (not being able to
maintain and support themselves, as one intire and independent body) the
union belonging to that body which consisted therein, must necessarily
cease, and so every one return to the state he was in before, with a liberty
to shift for himself, and provide for his own safety, as he thinks fit, in
some other society. Whenever the society is dissolved, it is certain the
government of that society cannot remain. Thus conquerors swords often cut
up governments by the roots, and mangle societies to pieces, separating the
subdued or scattered multitude from the protection of, and dependence on,
that society which ought to have preserved them from violence. The world is
too well instructed in, and too forward to allow of, this way of dissolving
of governments, to need any more to be said of it; and there wants not much
argument to prove, that where the society is dissolved, the government
cannot remain; that being as impossible, as for the frame of an house to
subsist when the materials of it are scattered and dissipated by a whirl-
wind, or jumbled into a confused heap by an earthquake.

Sec. 212. Besides this over-turning from without, governments are dissolved
from within,

First, When the legislative is altered. Civil society being a state of
peace, amongst those who are of it, from whom the state of war is excluded
by the umpirage, which they have provided in their legislative, for the
ending all differences that may arise amongst any of them, it is in their
legislative, that the members of a commonwealth are united, and combined
together into one coherent living body. This is the soul that gives form,
life, and unity, to the common-wealth: from hence the several members have
their mutual influence, sympathy, and connexion: and therefore, when the
legislative is broken, or dissolved, dissolution and death follows: for the
essence and union of the society consisting in having one will, the
legislative, when once established by the majority, has the declaring, and
as it were keeping of that will. The constitution of the legislative is the
first and fundamental act of society, whereby provision is made for the
continuation of their union, under the direction of persons, and bonds of
laws, made by persons authorized thereunto, by the consent and appointment
of the people, without which no one man, or number of men, amongst them, can
have authority of making laws that shall be binding to the rest. When any
one, or more, shall take upon them to make laws, whom the people have not
appointed so to do, they make laws without authority, which the people are
not therefore bound to obey; by which means they come again to be out of
subjection, and may constitute to themselves a new legislative, as they
think best, being in full liberty to resist the force of those, who without
authority would impose any thing upon them. Every one is at the disposure of
his own will, when those who had, by the delegation of the society, the
declaring of the public will, are excluded from it, and others usurp the
place, who have no such authority or delegation.

Sec. 213. This being usually brought about by such in the commonwealth who
misuse the power they have; it is hard to consider it aright, and know at
whose door to lay it, without knowing the form of government in which it
happens. Let us suppose then the legislative placed in the concurrence of
three distinct persons.

1. A single hereditary person, having the constant, supreme, executive
power, and with it the power of convoking and dissolving the other two
within certain periods of time.

2. An assembly of hereditary nobility.

3. An assembly of representatives chosen, pro tempore, by the people. Such a
form of government supposed, it is evident,

Sec. 214. First, That when such a single person, or prince, sets up his own
arbitrary will in place of the laws, which are the will of the society,
declared by the legislative, then the legislative is changed: for that being
in effect the legislative, whose rules and laws are put in execution, and
required to be obeyed; when other laws are set up, and other rules
pretended, and inforced, than what the legislative, constituted by the
society, have enacted, it is plain that the legislative is changed. Whoever
introduces new laws, not being thereunto authorized by the fundamental
appointment of the society, or subverts the old, disowns and overturns the
power by which they were made, and so sets up a new legislative.

Sec. 215. Secondly, When the prince hinders the legislative from assembling
in its due time, or from acting freely, pursuant to those ends for which it
was constituted, the legislative is altered: for it is not a certain number
of men, no, nor their meeting, unless they have also freedom of debating,
and leisure of perfecting, what is for the good of the society, wherein the
legislative consists: when these are taken away or altered, so as to deprive
the society of the due exercise of their power, the legislative is truly
altered; for it is not names that constitute governments, but the use and
exercise of those powers that were intended to accompany them; so that he,
who takes away the freedom, or hinders the acting of the legislative in its
due seasons, in effect takes away the legislative, and puts an end to the
government.

Sec. 216. Thirdly, When, by the arbitrary power of the prince, the electors,
or ways of election, are altered, without the consent, and contrary to the
common interest of the people, there also the legislative is altered: for,
if others than those whom the society hath authorized thereunto, do chuse,
or in another way than what the society hath prescribed, those chosen are
not the legislative appointed by the people.

Sec. 217. Fourthly, The delivery also of the people into the subjection of a
foreign power, either by the prince, or by the legislative, is certainly a
change of the legislative, and so a dissolution of the government: for the
end why people entered into society being to be preserved one intire, free,
independent society, to be governed by its own laws; this is lost, whenever
they are given up into the power of another.

Sec. 218. Why, in such a constitution as this, the dissolution of the
government in these cases is to be imputed to the prince, is evident;
because he, having the force, treasure and offices of the state to employ,
and often persuading himself, or being flattered by others, that as supreme
magistrate he is uncapable of controul; he alone is in a condition to make
great advances toward such changes, under pretence of lawful authority, and
has it in his hands to terrify or suppress opposers, as factious, seditious,
and enemies to the government: whereas no other part of the legislative, or
people, is capable by themselves to attempt any alteration of the
legislative, without open and visible rebellion, apt enough to be taken
notice of, which, when it prevails, produces effects very little different
from foreign conquest. Besides, the prince in such a form of government,
having the power of dissolving the other parts of the legislative, and
thereby rendering them private persons, they can never in opposition to him,
or without his concurrence, alter the legislative by a law, his conse power,
neglects and abandons that charge, so that the laws already made can no
longer be put in execution. This is demonstratively to reduce all to
anarchy, and so effectually to dissolve the government: for laws not being
made for themselves, but to be, by their execution, the bonds of the
society, to keep every part of the body politic in its due place and
function; when that totally ceases, the government visibly ceases, and the
people become a confused multitude, without order or connexion. Where there
is no longer the administration of justice, for the securing of men’s
rights, nor any remaining power within the community to direct the force, or
provide for the necessities of the public, there certainly is no government
left. Where the laws cannot be executed, it is all one as if there were no
laws; and a government without laws is, I suppose, a mystery in politics,
unconceivable to human capacity, and inconsistent with human society.

Sec. 220. In these and the like cases, when the government is dissolved, the
people are at liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a new
legislative, differing from the other, by the change of persons, or form, or
both, as they shall find it most for their safety and good: for the society
can never, by the fault of another, lose the native and original right it
has to preserve itself, which can only be done by a settled legislative, and
a fair and impartial execution of the laws made by it. But the state of
mankind is not so miserable that they are not capable of using this remedy,
till it be too late to look for any. To tell people they may provide for
themselves, by erecting a new legislative, when by oppression, artifice, or
being delivered over to a foreign power, their old one is gone, is only to
tell them, they may expect relief when it is too late, and the evil is past
cure. This is in effect no more than to bid them first be slaves, and then
to take care of their liberty; and when their chains are on, tell them, they
may act like freemen. This, if barely so, is rather mockery than relief; and
men can never be secure from tyranny, if there be no means to escape it till
they are perfectly under it: and therefore it is, that they have not only a
right to get out of it, but to prevent it.

Sec. 221. There is therefore, secondly, another way whereby governments are
dissolved, and that is, when the legislative, or the prince, either of them,
act contrary to their trust. First, The legislative acts against the trust
reposed in them, when they endeavour to invade the property of the subject,
and to make themselves, or any part of the community, masters, or arbitrary
disposers of the lives, liberties, or fortunes of the people.

Sec. 222. The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of
their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is,
that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the
properties of all the members of the society, to limit the power, and
moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society: for since it
can never be supposed to be the will of the society, that the legislative
should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure, by
entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to
legislators of their own making; whenever the legislators endeavour to take
away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery
under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the
people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left
to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and
violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this
fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or
corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any
other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the
people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put
into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people,
who. have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the
establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide
for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in
society. What I have said here, concerning the legislative in general, holds
true also concerning the supreme executor, who having a double trust put in
him, both to have a part in the legislative, and the supreme execution of
the law, acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own arbitrary
will as the law of the society. He acts also contrary to his trust, when he
either employs the force, treasure, and offices of the society, to corrupt
the representatives, and gain them to his purposes; or openly preengages the
electors, and prescribes to their choice, such, whom he has, by
sollicitations, threats, promises, or otherwise, won to his designs; and
employs them to bring in such, who have promised before-hand what to vote,
and what to enact. Thus to regulate candidates and electors, and new-model
the ways of election, what is it but to cut up the government by the roots,
and poison the very fountain of public security? for the people having
reserved to themselves the choice of their representatives, as the fence to
their properties, could do it for no other end, but that they might always
be freely chosen, and so chosen, freely act, and advise, as the necessity of
the common-wealth, and the public good should, upon examination, and mature
debate, be judged to require. This, those who give their votes before they
hear the debate, and have weighed the reasons on all sides, are not capable
of doing. To prepare such an assembly as this, and endeavour to set up the
declared abettors of his own will, for the true representatives of the
people, and the law-makers of the society, is certainly as great a breach of
trust, and as perfect a declaration of a design to subvert the government,
as is possible to be met with. To which, if one shall add rewards and
punishments visibly employed to the same end, and all the arts of perverted
law made use of, to take off and destroy all that stand in the way of such a
design, and will not comply and consent to betray the liberties of their
country, it will be past doubt what is doing. What power they ought to have
in the society, who thus employ it contrary to the trust went along with it
in its first institution, is easy to determine; and one cannot but see, that
he, who has once attempted any such thing as this, cannot any longer be
trusted.

Sec. 223. To this perhaps it will be said, that the people being ignorant,
and always discontented, to lay the foundation of government in the unsteady
opinion and uncertain humour of the people, is to expose it to certain ruin;
and no government will be able long to subsist, if the people may set up a
new legislative, whenever they take offence at the old one. To this I
answer, Quite the contrary. People are not so easily got out of their old
forms, as some are apt to suggest. They are hardly to be prevailed with to
amend the acknowledged faults in the frame they have been accustomed to. And
if there be any original defects, or adventitious ones introduced by time,
or corruption; it is not an easy thing to get them changed, even when all
the world sees there is an opportunity for it. This slowness and aversion in
the people to quit their old constitutions, has, in the many revolutions
which have been seen in this kingdom, in this and former ages, still kept us
to, or, after some interval of fruitless attempts, still brought us back
again to our old legislative of king, lords and commons: and whatever
provocations have made the crown be taken from some of our princes heads,
they never carried the people so far as to place it in another line.

Sec. 224. But it will be said, this hypothesis lays a ferment for frequent
rebellion. To which I answer,

First, No more than any other hypothesis: for when the people are made
miserable, and find themselves exposed to the ill usage of arbitrary power,
cry up their governors, as much as you will, for sons of Jupiter; let them
be sacred and divine, descended, or authorized from heaven; give them out
for whom or what you please, the same will happen. The people generally ill
treated, and contrary to right, will be ready upon any occasion to ease
themselves of a burden that sits heavy upon them. They will wish, and seek
for the opportunity, which in the change, weakness and accidents of human
affairs, seldom delays long to offer itself. He must have lived but a little
while in the world, who has not seen examples of this in his time; and he
must have read very little, who cannot produce examples of it in all sorts
of governments in the world.

Sec. 225. Secondly, I answer, such revolutions happen not upon every little
mismanagement in public affairs. Great mistakes in the ruling part, many
wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty, will be
born by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a long train of abuses,
prevarications and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design
visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see
whither they are going; it is not to be wondered, that they should then
rouze themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may
secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected; and
without which, ancient names, and specious forms, are so far from being
better, that they are much worse, than the state of nature, or pure anarchy;
the inconveniencies being all as great and as near, but the remedy farther
off and more difficult.

Sec. 226. Thirdly, I answer, that this doctrine of a power in the people of
providing for their safety a-new, by a new legislative, when their
legislators have acted contrary to their trust, by invading their property,
is the best fence against rebellion, and the probablest means to hinder it:
for rebellion being an opposition, not to persons, but authority, which is
founded only in the constitutions and laws of the government; those, whoever
they be, who by force break through, and by force justify their violation of
them, are truly and properly rebels: for when men, by entering into society
and civil-government, have excluded force, and introduced laws for the
preservation of property, peace, and unity amongst themselves, those who set
up force again in opposition to the laws, do rebellare, that is, bring back
again the state of war, and are properly rebels: which they who are in
power, (by the pretence they have to authority, the temptation of force they
have in their hands, and the flattery of those about them) being likeliest
to do; the properest way to prevent the evil, is to shew them the danger and
injustice of it, who are under the greatest temptation to run into it.

Sec. 227. In both the fore-mentioned cases, when either the legislative is
changed, or the legislators act contrary to the end for which they were
constituted; those who are guilty are guilty of rebellion: for if any one by
force takes away the established legislative of any society, and the laws by
them made, pursuant to their trust, he thereby takes away the umpirage,
which every one had consented to, for a peaceable decision of all their
controversies, and a bar to the state of war amongst them. They, who remove,
or change the legislative, take away this decisive power, which no body can
have, but by the appointment and consent of the people; and so destroying
the authority which the people did, and no body else can set up, and
introducing a power which the people hath not authorized, they actually
introduce a state of war, which is that of force without authority: and
thus, by removing the legislative established by the society, (in whose
decisions the people acquiesced and united, as to that of their own will)
they untie the knot, and expose the people a-new to the state of war, And if
those, who by force take away the legislative, are rebels, the legislators
themselves, as has been shewn, can be no less esteemed so; when they, who
were set up for the protection, and preservation of the people, their
liberties and properties, shall by force invade and endeavour to take them
away; and so they putting themselves into a state of war with those who made
them the protectors and guardians of their peace, are properly, and with the
greatest aggravation, rebellantes, rebels.

Sec. 228. But if they, who say it lays a foundation for rebellion, mean that
it may occasion civil wars, or intestine broils, to tell the people they are
absolved from obedience when illegal attempts are made upon their liberties
or properties, and may oppose the unlawful violence of those who were their
magistrates, when they invade their properties contrary to the trust put in
them; and that therefore this doctrine is not to be allowed, being so
destructive to the peace of the world: they may as well say, upon the same
ground, that honest men may not oppose robbers or pirates, because this may
occasion disorder or bloodshed. If any mischief come in such cases, it is
not to be charged upon him who defends his own right, but on him that
invades his neighbours. If the innocent honest man must quietly quit all he
has, for peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it
may be considered, what a kind of peace there will be in the world, which
consists only in violence and rapine; and which is to be maintained only for
the benefit of robbers and oppressors. VVho would not think it an admirable
peace betwix the mighty and the mean, when the lamb, without resistance,
yielded his throat to be torn by the imperious wolf? Polyphemus’s den gives
us a perfect pattern of such a peace, and such a government, wherein Ulysses
and his companions had nothing to do, but quietly to suffer themselves to be
devoured. And no doubt Ulysses, who was a prudent man, preached up passive
obedience, and exhorted them to a quiet submission, by representing to them
of what concernment peace was to mankind; and by shewing the inconveniences
might happen, if they should offer to resist Polyphemus, who had now the
power over them.

Sec. 229. The end of government is the good of mankind; and which is best
for mankind, that the people should be always exposed to the boundless will
of tyranny, or that the rulers should be sometimes liable to be opposed,
when they grow exorbitant in the use of their power, and employ it for the
destruction, and not the preservation of the properties of their people?

Sec. 230. Nor let any one say, that mischief can arise from hence, as often
as it shall please a busy head, or turbulent spirit, to desire the
alteration of the government. It is true, such men may stir, whenever they
please; but it will be only to their own just ruin and perdition: for till
the mischief be grown general, and the ill designs of the rulers become
visible, or their attempts sensible to the greater part, the people, who are
more disposed to suffer than right themselves by resistance, are not apt to
stir. The examples of particular injustice, or oppression of here and there
an unfortunate man, moves them not. But if they universally have a
persuation, grounded upon manifest evidence, that designs are carrying on
against their liberties, and the general course and tendency of things
cannot but give them strong suspicions of the evil intention of their
governors, who is to be blamed for it? Who can help it, if they, who might
avoid it, bring themselves into this suspicion? Are the people to be blamed,
if they have the sense of rational creatures, and can think of things no
otherwise than as they find and feel them? And is it not rather their fault,
who put things into such a posture, that they would not have them thought to
be as they are? I grant, that the pride, ambition, and turbulency of private
men have sometimes caused great disorders in commonwealths, and factions
have been fatal to states and kingdoms. But whether the mischief hath
oftener begun in the peoples wantonness, and a desire to cast off the lawful
authority of their rulers, or in the rulers insolence, and endeavours to get
and exercise an arbitrary power over their people; whether oppression, or
disobedience, gave the first rise to the disorder, I leave it to impartial
history to determine. This I am sure, whoever, either ruler or subject, by
force goes about to invade the rights of either prince or people, and lays
the foundation for overturning the constitution and frame of any just
government, is highly guilty of the greatest crime, I think, a man is
capable of, being to answer for all those mischiefs of blood, rapine, and
desolation, which the breaking to pieces of governments bring on a country.
And he who does it, is justly to be esteemed the common enemy and pest of
mankind, and is to be treated accordingly.

Sec. 231. That subjects or foreigners, attempting by force on the properties
of any people, may be resisted with force, is agreed on all hands. But that
magistrates, doing the same thing, may be resisted, hath of late been
denied: as if those who had the greatest privileges and advantages by the
law, had thereby a power to break those laws, by which alone they were set
in a better place than their brethren: whereas their offence is thereby the
greater, both as being ungrateful for the greater share they have by the
law, and breaking also that trust, which is put into their hands by their
brethren.

Sec. 232. Whosoever uses force without right, as every one does in society,
who does it without law, puts himself into a state of war with those against
whom he so uses it; and in that state all former ties are cancelled, all
other rights cease, and every one has a right to defend himself, and to
resist the aggressor. This is so evident, that Barclay himself, that great
assertor of the power and sacredness of kings, is forced to confess, That it
is lawful for the people, in some cases, to resist their king; and that too
in a chapter, wherein he pretends to shew, that the divine law shuts up the
people from all manner of rebellion. Whereby it is evident, even by his own
doctrine, that, since they may in some cases resist, all resisting of
princes is not rebellion. His words are these.

Sec. 233. But if any one should ask, Must the people then always lay
themselves open to the cruelty and rage of tyranny? Must they see their
cities pillaged, and laid in ashes, their wives and children exposed to the
tyrant’s lust and fury, and themselves and families reduced by their king to
ruin, and all the miseries of want and oppression, and yet sit still? Must
men alone be debarred the common privilege of opposing force with force,
which nature allows so freely to all other creatures for their preservation
from injury? I answer: Self-defence is a part of the law of nature; nor can
it be denied the community, even against the king himself: but to revenge
themselves upon him, must by no means be allowed them; it being not
agreeable to that law. Wherefore if the king shall shew an hatred, not only
to some particular persons, but sets himself against the body of the common-
wealth, whereof he is the head, and shall, with intolerable ill usage,
cruelly tyrannize over the whole, or a considerable part of the people, in
this case the people have a right to resist and defend themselves from
injury: but it must be with this caution, that they only defend themselves,
but do not attack their prince: they may repair the damages received, but
must not for any provocation exceed the bounds of due reverence and respect.
They may repulse the present attempt, but must not revenge past violences:
for it is natural for us to defend life and limb, but that an inferior
should punish a superior, is against nature. The mischief which is designed
them, the people may prevent before it be done; but when it is done, they
must not revenge it on the king, though author of the villany. This
therefore is the privilege of the people in general, above what any private
person hath; that particular men are allowed by our adversaries themselves
(Buchanan only excepted) to have no other remedy but patience; but the body
of the people may with respect resist intolerable tyranny; for when it is
but moderate, they ought to endure it.

Sec. 234. Thus far that great advocate of monarchical power allows of
resistance.

Sec. 235. It is true, he has annexed two limitations to it, to no purpose:

First, He says, it must be with reverence.

Secondly, It must be without retribution, or punishment; and the reason he
gives is, because an inferior cannot punish a superior.

First, How to resist force without striking again, or how to strike with
reverence, will need some skill to make intelligible. He that shall oppose
an assault only with a shield to receive the blows, or in any more
respectful posture, without a sword in his hand, to abate the confidence and
force of the assailant, will quickly be at an end of his resistance, and
will find such a defence serve only to draw on himself the worse usage. This
is as ridiculous a way of resisting, as juvenal thought it of fighting; ubi
tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum. And the success of the combat will be
unavoidably the same he there describes it:

— Libertas pauperis haec est: Pulsatus rogat, & pugnis concisus,
adorat, Ut liceat paucis cum dentibus inde reverti.

This will always be the event of such an imaginary resistance, where men may
not strike again. He therefore who may resist, must be allowed to strike.
And then let our author, or any body else, join a knock on the head, or a
cut on the face, with as much reverence and respect as he thinks fit. He
that can reconcile blows and reverence, may, for aught I know, desire for
his pains, a civil, respectful cudgeling where-ever he can meet with it.

Secondly, As to his second, An inferior cannot punish a superior; that is
true, generally speaking, whilst he is his superior. But to resist force
with force, being the state of war that levels the parties, cancels all
former relation of reverence, respect, and superiority: and then the odds
that remains, is, that he, who opposes the unjust agressor, has this
superiority over him, that he has a right, when he prevails, to punish the
offender, both for the breach of the peace, and all the evils that followed
upon it. Barclay therefore, in another place, more coherently to himself,
denies it to be lawful to resist a king in any case. But he there assigns
two cases, whereby a king may un-king himself. His words are,

Sec. 237. What then, can there no case happen wherein the people may of
right, and by their own authority, help themselves, take arms, and set upon
their king, imperiously domineering over them? None at all, whilst he
remains a king. Honour the king, and he that resists the power, resists the
ordinance of God; are divine oracles that will never permit it, The people
therefore can never come by a power over him, unless he does something that
makes him cease to be a king: for then he divests himself of his crown and
dignity, and returns to the state of a private man, and the people become
free and superior, the power which they had in the interregnum, before they
crowned him king, devolving to them again. But there are but few
miscarriages which bring the matter to this state. After considering it well
on all sides, I can find but two. Two cases there are, I say, whereby a
king, ipso facto, becomes no king, and loses all power and regal authority
over his people; which are also taken notice of by Winzerus.

The first is, If he endeavour to overturn the government, that is, if he
have a purpose and design to ruin the kingdom and commonwealth, as it is
recorded of Nero, that he resolved to cut off the senate and people of Rome,
lay the city waste with fire and sword, and then remove to some other place.
And of Caligula, that he openly declared, that he would be no longer a head
to the people or senate, and that he had it in his thoughts to cut off the
worthiest men of both ranks, and then retire to Alexandria: and he wisht
that the people had but one neck, that he might dispatch them all at a blow,
Such designs as these, when any king harbours in his thoughts, and seriously
promotes, he immediately gives up all care and thought of the common-wealth;
and consequently forfeits the power of governing his subjects, as a master
does the dominion over his slaves whom he hath abandoned.

Sec. 238. The other case is, When a king makes himself the dependent of
another, and subjects his kingdom which his ancestors left him, and the
people put free into his hands, to the dominion of another: for however
perhaps it may not be his intention to prejudice the people; yet because he
has hereby lost the principal part of regal dignity, viz. to be next and
immediately under God, supreme in his kingdom; and also because he betrayed
or forced his people, whose liberty he ought to have carefully preserved,
into the power and dominion of a foreign nation. By this, as. it were,
alienation of his kingdom, he himself loses the power he had in it before,
without transferring any the least right to those on whom he would have
bestowed it; and so by this act sets the people free, and leaves them at
their own disposal. One example of this is to be found in the Scotch Annals.

Sec. 239. In these cases Barclay, the great champion of absolute monarchy,
is forced to allow, that a king may be resisted, and ceases to be a king.
That is, in short, not to multiply cases, in whatsoever he has no authority,
there he is no king, and may be resisted: for wheresoever the authority
ceases, the king ceases too, and becomes like other men who have no
authority. And these two cases he instances in, differ little from those
above mentioned, to be destructive to governments, only that he has omitted
the principle from which his doctrine flows: and that is, the breach of
trust, in not preserving the form of government agreed on, and in not
intending the end of government itself, which is the public good and
preservation of property. When a king has dethroned himself, and put himself
in a state of war with his people, what shall hinder them from prosecuting
him who is no king, as they would any other man, who has put himself into a
state of war with them, Barclay, and those of his opinion, would do well to
tell us. This farther I desire may be taken notice of out of Barclay, that
he says, The mischief that is designed them, the people may prevent before
it be clone: whereby he allows resistance when tyranny is but in design.
Such designs as these (says he) when any king harbours in his thoughts and
seriously promotes, he immediately gives up all care and thought of the
common-wealth; so that, according to him, the neglect of the public good is
to be taken as an evidence of such design, or at least for a sufficient
cause of resistance. And the reason of all, he gives in these words, Because
he betrayed or forced his people, whose liberty he ought carefully to have
preserved. What he adds, into the power and dominion of a foreign nation,
signifies nothing, the fault and forfeiture lying in the loss of their
liberty, which he ought to have preserved, and not in any distinction of the
persons to whose dominion they were subjected. The peoples right is equally
invaded, and their liberty lost, whether they are made slaves to any of
their own, or a foreign nation; and in this lies the injury, and against
this only have they the right of defence. And there are instances to be
found in all countries, which shew, that it is not the change of nations in
the persons of their governors, but the change of government, that gives the
offence. Bilson, a bishop of our church, and a great stickler for the power
and prerogative of princes, does, if I mistake not, in his treatise of
Christian subjection, acknowledge, that princes may forfeit their power, and
their title to the obedience of their subjects; and if there needed
authority in a case where reason is so plain, I could send my reader to
Bracton, Fortescue, and the author of the Mirrour, and others, writers that
cannot be suspected to be ignorant of our government, or enemies to it. But
I thought Hooker alone might be enough to satisfy those men, who relying on
him for their ecclesiastical polity, are by a strange fate carried to deny
those principles upon which he builds it. Whether they are herein made the
tools of cunninger workmen, to pull down their own fabric, they were best
look. This I am sure, their civil policy is so new, so dangerous, and so
destructive to both rulers and people, that as former ages never could bear
the broaching of it; so it may be hoped, those to come, redeemed from the
impositions of these Egyptian under-task-masters, will abhor the memory of
such servile flatterers, who, whilst it seemed to serve their turn, resolved
all government into absolute tyranny, and would have all men born to, what
their mean souls fitted them for, slavery.

Sec. 240. Here, it is like, the common question will be made, Who shall be
judge, whether the prince or legislative act contrary to their trust? This,
perhaps, ill-affected and factious men may spread amongst the people, when
the prince only makes use of his due prerogative. To this I reply, The
people shall be judge; for who shall be judge whether his trustee or deputy
acts well, and according to the trust reposed in him, but he who deputes
him, and must, by having deputed him, have still a power to discard him,
when he fails in his trust? If this be reasonable in particular cases of
private men, why should it be otherwise in that of the greatest moment,
where the welfare of millions is concerned, and also where the evil, if not
prevented, is greater, and the redress very difficult, dear, and dangerous?

Sec. 241. But farther, this question, (Who shall be judge?) cannot mean,
that there is no judge at all: for where there is no judicature on earth, to
decide controversies amongst men, God in heaven is judge. He alone, it is
true, is judge of the right. But every man is judge for himself, as in all
other cases, so in this, whether another hath put himself into a state of
war with him, and whether he should appeal to the Supreme Judge, as leptha
did.

Sec. 242. If a controversy arise betwixt a prince and some of the people, in
a matter where the law is silent, or doubtful, and the thing be of great
consequence, I should think the proper umpire, in such a case, should be the
body of the people: for in cases where the prince hath a trust reposed in
him, and is dispensed from the common ordinary rules of the law; there, if
any men find themselves aggrieved, and think the prince acts contrary to, or
beyond that trust, who so proper to judge as the body of the people, (who,
at first, lodged that trust in him) how far they meant it should extend? But
if the prince, or whoever they be in the administration, decline that way of
determination, the appeal then lies no where but to heaven; force between
either persons, who have no known superior on earth, or which permits no
appeal to a judge on earth, being properly a state of war, wherein the
appeal lies only to heaven; and in that state the injured party must judge
for himself, when he will think fit to make use of that appeal, and put
himself upon it.

Sec. 243. To conclude, The power that every individual gave the society,
when he entered into it, can never revert to the individuals again, as long
as the society lasts, but will always remain in the community; because
without this there can be no community, no common-wealth, which is contrary
to the original agreement: so also when the society hath placed the
legislative in any assembly of men, to continue in them and their
successors, with direction and authority for providing such successors, the
legislative can never revert to the people whilst that government lasts;
because having provided a legislative with power to continue for ever, they
have given up their political power to the legislative, and cannot resume
it. But if they have set limits to the duration of their legislative, and
made this supreme power in any person, or assembly, only temporary; or else,
when by the miscarriages of those in authority, it is forfeited; upon the
forfeiture, or at the determination of the time set, it reverts to the
society, and the people have a right to act as supreme, and continue the
legislative in themselves; or erect a new form, or under the old form place
it in new hands, as they think good.

FINIS.